With meteorologist Jaclyn Whittal
With meteorologist Jaclyn Whittal
Britain's government said on Saturday it would give financial aid to airports before the end of March, after the industry called for urgent support as tighter COVID-19 rules for international travellers start on Monday. Aviation minister Robert Courts said the government would launch a new support program this month. "The Airport and Ground Operations Support Scheme will help airports reduce their costs and we will be aiming to provide grants before the end of this financial year," he announced on social media, adding that more details would follow soon.
The Hat Art Club has been a staple in the community for decades and is celebrating an important milestone this month – 75 years in existence. The club sits around 100 members on a given year and was founded in 1946 by Mrs. Helen Beny Gibson and Rev. L.T.H Pearson. The group began with a program teaching people how to draw at city council chambers. “The Hat Art Club has grown to be one of the foundational art clubs in the city,” said club president Bev Duke. “For a very long time, there were no other organizations that provided art training for adult artists in our community. “There have been programs offered through the college over the years, but they were sporadic. The art club has offered a consistent place for artists of any age or skill to come and learn.” The Hat Art Club has operated out of the Cultural Centre since it was built, and is now offering digital art programming. The club shifted to online classes last October and invested into its new website to help keep members in the loop. Duke has been a member of the club for 25 years and is in her second term as president. She says the club aims to offer something for everyone. “We have programs around all mediums,” she said. “One of our big programs is around drawing, because it is so foundational to art, a lot of people are interested. “We offer acrylic, oils, pastels and art journaling.” The art club’s shift to online has helped Hatters fill their time at home with fun, creative activities to focus on during the pandemic. “Art is a creative outlet,” said Duke. “It gives you something to work on and it lets you develop different skills.” The club has also announced a special promotion to get new members involved. For a limited time, get a membership for $75 to celebrate the anniversary. More information can be found at http://www.hatartclub.com. Mo Cranker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News
A team of climbers from Nepal on Saturday become the first mountaineers to successfully complete a winter attempt on the summit of K2, the world's second tallest peak. Located on the Pakistan China border, K2 is the only mountain over 8,000 metres that had not been summitted in the winter. The group were named as Nirmal Purja, Gelje Sherpa, Mingma David Sherpa, Mingma G, Sona Sherpa, Mingma Tenzi Sherpa, Pem Chhiri Sherpa, Dawa Temba Sherpa, Kili Pemba Sherpa, and Dawa Tenjing Sherpa.
Ottawa's homicide unit is investigating the death of a man who was found with gunshot wounds in the city's south end early Saturday morning. According to police, the man was found in the area of Hunt Club Road and Lorry Greenberg Drive at approximately 3 a.m. He was identified Saturday afternoon as 20-year-old Mehdi El-Hajj Hassan. A section of Lorry Greenberg Drive was closed to traffic but has since re-opened. People with information are asked to contact police or can submit anonymous tips by calling Crime Stoppers.
Denmark on Saturday found its first case of a more contagious coronavirus variant from South Africa, and saw a rise in the number of infections with the highly transmissible B117 variant first identified in Britain, health authorities said. The Nordic country extended a lockdown for three weeks on Wednesday in a bid to curtail the spread of the new variant from Britain, which authorities expect to be the dominant one by mid-February. Denmark has become a front-runner in monitoring coronavirus mutations by running most positive tests through genome sequencing analysis.
The Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia and all of Cape Breton are under weather warnings for Saturday night into Sunday. A public weather alert issued by Environment Canada on Saturday morning said a system approaching from New England is expected to bring southeasterly gusts of up to 90 km/h to parts of the mainland, and up to 100 km/h in Cape Breton. A Les Suêteswind warning is in effect in Cape Breton from Margaree Harbour to Bay St. Lawrence. Inverness County-Mabou and north is being warned to expect Les Suêtes gusts of 100 km/h near midnight increasing to near 180 km/h Sunday morning Some counties on the Atlantic coast will experience heavy rainfall along with high winds. Guysborough County, Halifax County east of Porters Lake, Halifax Metro and Halifax County West, Inverness County south of Mabou, Richmond County, Sydney Metro and Cape Breton County and Victoria County can expect rainfall amounts up to 50 millimetres. Antigonish County, Colchester County-Truro and south, Lunenburg County, Pictou County, Queen's County, Shelburne County and Yarmouth County should expect rainfall amounts up to 50 millimetres, but are not included in the Environment Canada wind alerts. Rain in these areas is expected to start this evening and will continue into the overnight hours before tapering to scattered showers Sunday morning. Environment Canada says localized flooding is possible in low-lying areas. MORE TOP STORIES
Thousands of genomic sequences have been identified from the original strain of the novel coronavirus. Depending on the rate of transmission and efforts to curb infections, the variant will either die out or dominate. Crystal Goomansingh explains how researchers are tracking the virus as it evolves.
TRAVAIL. Selon la Centrale des syndicats du Québec (CSQ), après la gestion de la pandémie en 2020, les négociations dans le secteur public seront le gros défi que le gouvernement devra relever en 2021. «La Centrale des syndicats du Québec (CSQ) compte d'ailleurs rappeler au premier ministre, François Legault, qu'il est maintenant plus que temps qu'il fasse un choix pour le Québec, le choix de bien traiter celles et ceux qui préparent l'avenir des élèves et des étudiants et qui prennent soin des personnes malades et souffrantes», a déclaré Sonia Ethier, la présidente de l’organisation syndicale qui représente plus de 200 000 membres, dont environ 125 000 font partie du personnel de l'éducation. «La pandémie a mis en lumière l'état important de désorganisation dans lequel se trouve notre réseau de santé à la suite des coupes et des compressions des dernières années. La situation n'est guère mieux dans les réseaux de l'éducation et de l'enseignement supérieur où les mauvaises conditions de travail mettent en péril la capacité de l'État à garantir les services à la population. Après la crise sanitaire, il y a une véritable crise des conditions de travail que le gouvernement ne pourra régler qu'en mettant fin à l'exploitation éhontée des travailleuses et travailleurs du secteur public, qui a trop duré», explique Sonia Ethier. La CSQ poursuivra d'ailleurs la mobilisation de ses membres, enclenchée en 2020, qui devrait se traduire par l'adoption de mandats de grève dans l'ensemble des syndicats d'ici la fin du mois de janvier. «Le ras-le-bol et la colère sont généralisés chez nos 125 000 membres du secteur public, et cela se traduit par d'importants appuis à la grève», ajoute-t-elle. Qualité de l'air et vaccination À l’occasion d’une conférence de presse virtuelle tenue le 10 janvier, la présidente de la CSQ est également revenue sur la question de la qualité de l’air dans les écoles. Ayant écouté attentivement les propos du ministre Jean-François Roberge à ce sujet, Sonia Ethier l'invite à ne pas écarter trop rapidement le recours à des purificateurs d'air dans les classes où les normes ne sont pas satisfaisantes. «Le ministre semble dire que leur présence dans les classes et le bruit que ces appareils produisent seraient dérangeants pour la concentration des élèves. Je pense qu'il saute un peu trop vite aux conclusions et qu'il met en doute trop facilement le bon jugement du personnel pour ce qui est de choisir le meilleur emplacement pour ces purificateurs. Rappelons-nous qu'il n'y a pas si longtemps, le ministre doutait de la nécessité de porter des masques en classe, alors que son point de vue a changé depuis. La question des purificateurs d'air mérite sans nul doute d'être plus réfléchie également», met en garde la leader syndicale. Pour ce qui est de la question de la vaccination du personnel du réseau scolaire et du réseau de l'enseignement supérieur, la décision d'inclure les enseignants ainsi que les éducatrices des services à la petite enfance parmi les groupes prioritaires pour la vaccination est une bonne nouvelle pour la CSQ. «Cependant, nous pressons le gouvernement et l'Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ) d'inclure tous les personnels de l'éducation dans ces groupes prioritaires, c'est-à-dire d'ajouter aussi le personnel de soutien ainsi que le personnel professionnel. En effet, ces travailleuses et ces travailleurs ne sont pas moins à risque que leurs collègues de l'enseignement», indique Sonia Ethier. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
BERLIN — Chancellor Angela Merkel’s centre-right party on Saturday chose Armin Laschet, the pragmatic governor of Germany’s most populous state, as its new leader — sending a signal of continuity months before an election in which voters will decide who becomes the new chancellor. Laschet will have to build unity in the Christian Democratic Union, Germany's strongest party, after beating more conservative rival Friedrich Merz. And he will need to plunge straight into an electoral marathon that culminates with the Sept. 26 national vote. Saturday’s vote isn’t the final word on who will run as the centre-right candidate for chancellor in Germany’s Sept. 26 election, but Laschet will either run himself or have a big say in who does. He didn't address his plans at Saturday's party convention. Laschet, 59, was elected in 2017 as governor of North Rhine-Westphalia state, a traditionally centre-left stronghold. He governs the region in a coalition with the pro-business Free Democrats, the CDU’s traditional ally, but would likely be able to work smoothly with a more liberal partner, too. Current polls point to the environmentalist Greens as a likely key to power in the election. Laschet pointed Saturday to the value of continuity and moderation, and cited the storming of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump as an example of where polarization can lead. “Trust is what keeps us going and what has been broken in America,” he told delegates before the vote. “By polarizing, sowing discord and distrust, and systematically lying, a president has destroyed stability and trust.” “We must speak clearly but not polarize,” Laschet said. “We must be able to integrate, hold society together.” He said that the party needs “the continuity of success” and “we will only win if we remain strong in the middle of society.” Laschet said that “there are many people who, above all, find Angela Merkel good and only after that the CDU.” He added that ”we need this trust now as a party” and that “we must work for this trust.” Laschet beat Merz, a former rival of Merkel who was making his second attempt in recent years to win the CDU leadership, by 521 votes to 466. A third candidate, prominent lawmaker Norbert Roettgen, was eliminated in a first round of voting. Merz's sizeable support suggests that a strong contingent would like a sharper conservative profile after the Merkel years. Merkel has led Germany since 2005 but said over two years ago that she wouldn't seek a fifth term as chancellor. Merkel, 66, has enjoyed enduring popularity with voters as she steered Germany and Europe through a series of crises. But she repeatedly abandoned orthodox conservative policies, for example by accelerating Germany's exit from nuclear energy and ending military conscription. Her decision in 2015 to allow in large numbers of migrants caused major tensions on the centre-right and strengthened the far-right Alternative for Germany party. Saturday's vote ends a nearly year-long limbo in Germany’s strongest party since outgoing leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who narrowly beat Merz in 2018 to succeed Merkel as CDU leader but failed to impose her authority, announced her resignation. A vote on her successor was delayed twice because of the coronavirus pandemic. Laschet called for unity after Saturday's vote and said Merz remains “an important personality for us.” “All the questions that will face us after the pandemic need a broad consensus in our party,” he said. “And we will need this consensus for all the elections that are ahead of us, too. Everyone will be against us.” Laschet, a miner's son who served as a member of the European Parliament from 1999 to 2005, shouldn't expect much of a honeymoon in his new job. In addition to the national election, Germany is holding six state elections this year, the first two in mid-March. And at some point, he will confer with allies in Bavaria on who runs for chancellor. The CDU is part of the Union bloc along with its sister party, the Bavaria-only Christian Social Union, and the two parties will decide together on the candidate. The Union currently has a healthy poll lead, helped by positive reviews of Merkel’s handling of the pandemic. CSU leader Markus Soeder, the governor of Bavaria, is widely considered a potential candidate after gaining in political stature during the pandemic. Some also consider Health Minister Jens Spahn, who supported Laschet and was elected as one of his deputies, a possible contender. Polls have shown Soeder’s ratings outstripping those of Saturday’s CDU candidates. Laschet has garnered mixed reviews in the pandemic, particularly as a vocal advocate of loosening restrictions after last year’s first phase. “It's very good that a year-long discussion process is over,” Soeder said. “I am sure that Armin Laschet and I will find a joint, wise and united solution to all other pending questions.” Saturday’s result will now be officially endorsed in a postal ballot. That is expected to be a formality but is required by German law. Geir Moulson, The Associated Press
Tuesday, January 5, 2021, Mayor Stasiuk called the Town of Langenburg council meeting to order at 7:30 P.M. with all members present. The council reviewed the agenda before Councillor Sicinski made a motion to accept; the motion carried. Next, the council reviewed the minutes from the last council meeting. Following a short discussion, Councillor Popp made a motion to accept the minutes as amended; motion carried. With no business arising from the minutes, the council reviewed the town’s accounts next. Administrator Lemcke explained a few of the charges to the council before Councillor Hunt made a motion to accept the town’s accounts; motion carried. Bank reconciliation was next to be reviewed. Councillor Popp explained the bank reconciliation to the council before making a motion to accept; the motion carried. Councillor Popp explained the financial summary to the rest of the council. Councillor Hunt made a motion to accept the summary which was carried. The council next heard Town of Langenburg Foreman Dave Tucker give his report regarding the happening of the town maintenance staff. Councillor Hunt made a motion to purchase $1500 of hand tools; motion carried. Councillor Farmer made a motion to accept the report which was carried. Economic Development Officer (EDO) Lina Petkeviciene was next to give her report to the council. She discussed the construction of the proposed washroom at the rest stop as well as the banners being looked at by the EDO and council. Administrator Lemcke was next to give her report, starting with Councillor emails to be assigned to the tablet used by the councillors. Councillor Hunt made a motion to go to a town domain for council and town employees; motion carried. Councillor Hunt made a motion to pay Karlis VanCaeseele’s certification to run the water plant in case of an emergency basis; motion carried. The council next reviewed the correspondence received by the town over the last two weeks. Councillor Sicinski made a motion to file the correspondence which was carried. The meeting was adjourned by Councillor Sicinski. Gary Horseman, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Four-Town Journal
Nova Scotia is reporting four new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday. Three of the new cases are in the central health zone. One was a close contact of a previously reported case. The other two are related to travel outside Atlantic Canada. One is a student at Dalhousie University in Halifax who lives off-campus. The case in the eastern health zone is a student at Cape Breton University in Sydney who lived off-campus and travelled outside the region. That case was reported Friday but not included in the official case tally until Saturday. All the new cases are self-isolating. There are 30 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, down two from Friday. No one is in hospital with the virus. Nova Scotia Health Authority labs conducted 2,293 Nova Scotia tests on Friday. Premier Stephen McNeil is commending students for "following health protocols," according to a release from the province. "We are seeing young people at universities taking the isolation requirement seriously and I want to thank them for protecting the health of others in their school community," he said. The province is continuing to urge students who have returned from outside of Nova Scotia, Newfoundland or P.E.I. to book a COVID-19 test on the sixth, seventh or eighth day of their quarantine, regardless if they have symptoms. Any students experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 must complete a self-assessment online or call 811. Students still must complete their 14-day isolation period even with a negative test result. Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, said the low numbers are encouraging but warned against complacency. "While this is good news, we must remember COVID-19 is still in our communities and we must all do our part to prevent its spread," he said in a news release. New potential exposures Late Saturday, the Nova Scotia Health Authority announced two new possible COVID-19 exposures on flights into Halifax from Toronto. Officials are asking anyone who was on the following flights in the specified seats to immediately book a test through the province's self-assessment website or contact 811, regardless of whether they have COVID-19 symptoms: Swoop flight 408 travelling on Jan. 8 from Toronto (5:30 p.m.) to Halifax (8:30 p.m.), passengers in rows 16-22 seats A, B, C and D. Symptoms may develop up to, and including, Jan. 22. Air Canada flight 604 travelling on Jan. 5 from Toronto (8:00 a.m.) to Halifax (11:00 a.m.), passengers in rows 22-28 in seats C, D, E and F. Symptoms may develop up to, and including, Jan. 19. All other passengers on this flight must continue to self-isolate as required and monitor for symptoms of COVID-19. Reduction in vaccine supply At a news briefing on Friday, the premier said Nova Scotia will continue to hold back second doses of COVID-19 vaccine until it is guaranteed there will be no interruption in supply. McNeil said he understands the concerns people have with the rollout, but stressed the importance of moving the vaccine throughout the province safely and effectively. He said the province had administered 7,600 doses of the vaccine as of late Thursday, which included 2,200 front-line health-care workers who have received their second dose. Dr. Robert Strang, the province's chief medical officer of health, said the province had received 13,000 doses of vaccine prior to Thursday. Most of that supply has been administered or has been scheduled for second doses. Pfizer had recently said it will temporarily reduce shipments of its vaccine to Canada. The pharmaceutical giant is pausing some production lines at a facility in Belgium in order to expand long-term manufacturing capacity. In an email, a spokesperson from Nova Scotia Health said it has been notified it should expect fewer Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doses each week for a month. "We have solid processes in place to manage a decrease or increase in vaccine supply. We can adjust our clinics to accommodate the amount of vaccine we receive," the email said. Mandatory testing for rotational workers Mandatory testing for rotational workers came into effect Friday. Workers will now be required to get a test within two days of returning to Nova Scotia and again about a week later. If rotational workers do not get tested, they will be fined $1,000. Regardless of the test result, they must still complete their 14-day modified self-isolation. A mobile health unit was set up in Truro , N.S., on Thursday in response to an increase in the number of potential exposures in the area in the last week. A full list of exposures in the province can be found here. On Friday, Nova Scotia Health said the unit will be expanded for four more days of testing. Drop-in testing will be available on Saturday at the NSCC Truro Campus from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Sunday through Tuesday at the convention centre in the Best Western Glengarry from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Atlantic Canada case numbers MORE TOP STORIES
BERLIN — Borussia Dortmund captain Marco Reus missed a penalty in a 1-1 draw with lowly Mainz while Leipzig again missed the chance to move to the top of the Bundesliga on Saturday. Leipzig, which was denied top spot in losing to Dortmund 3-1 last weekend, could manage only 2-2 at Wolfsburg and it remains a point behind league leader Bayern Munich. Bayern hosts Freiburg on Sunday. Dortmund was looking for its fourth win in five league games under new coach Edin Terzic but was frustrated by a committed performance from Mainz in Bo Svensson’s second game in charge. The draw was enough for Mainz to move off the bottom on goal difference from Schalke, which visits Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday. Dortmund got off to a fine start with Erling Haaland firing inside the left post in the second minute. But the goal was ruled out through VAR as Thomas Meunier was offside in the buildup. Jude Bellingham struck the post toward the end of the half and it was as close as Dortmund came to scoring before the break. Mainz defended doggedly and took its chance in the 57th when Levin Öztunali eluded Mats Hummels with a back-heel trick and let fly from 20 metres inside the top right corner. The visitors almost grabbed another shortly afterward when Alexander Hack struck the crossbar with a header. The 16-year-old Youssoufa Moukoko had just gone on for Dortmund and he played a decisive role for his side’s equalizer in the 73rd, keeping the ball in play before sending in a cross that was cleared by Mainz defender Phillipp Mwene – only as far as Meunier, who fired back in to equalize. Meunier was then fouled in the penalty area by Hack, giving Reus a chance to score from the spot. The Dortmund captain sent his kick outside of the left post. It could have been worse for Reus’ team as Mainz captain Danny Latza hit the post late on. Dortmund remained fourth, four points behind Bayern, which has a game in hand. Werder Bremen scored late to beat Augsburg 2-0 at home, Cologne drew with Hertha Berlin 0-0, and Hoffenheim vs. Arminia Bielefeld also ended scoreless. Stuttgart hosted Borussia Mönchengladbach in the late game. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports ___ Ciarán Fahey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cfaheyAP CiaráN Fahey, The Associated Press
Once upon a time, there was a girl named Sofia who loved books but was bothered by how the book collection in her school library was very … well … white. So the girl decided she'd try to write a new twist to the tale by penning something prosaic yet powerful — an application for a government grant, to be exact. Two thousand dollars later, 13-year-old Sofia Rathjen of Sherwood Park, Alta., is curating a collection of books by, and about, Black, Indigenous and people of colour. The new books are building diversity on the bookshelves of the Sherwood Heights junior high library and more tolerance and understanding among its students. "Students of colour — and all people of colour — can see their stories represented authentically and unapologetically and written by authors who understand those experiences," the Latino-Canadian teen told CBC Radio's Edmonton AM. "And non-people of colour can understand things that we go through. That way, it's not always our job to explain everything and why something is hurtful or racist." 'I just thought about how I could change that' In total, the school will get 134 books — science fiction, poetry, history, graphic novels, mythology and more — featuring authors from dozens of cultural backgrounds. Rathjen's application for Strathcona County's Community Change grant grew out of another piece of writing — a "passion project" essay about why representation matters in school libraries that she had done the year before. "The library was great, [but] I noticed that it lacked representation of people of colour and I saw the way that it affected outside of the library and outside of books," Rathjen said. "Personally, I experienced a lot of micro-aggressions, and I know people who have experienced blatant racism from people at our school. And so I just thought about how I could change that." The Grade 8 student came up with the idea to apply for the grant, then went to the teacher of her leadership class, Robin Koning, for help. Koning said he is "pleased as punch," not just at the grant being approved but at what it means for the school. "We really want to increase our Black/Indigenous/people of colour collection," he said. "Like Sofia said, we want people to realize that people from other cultures experience all kinds of discrimination, whether it's words or actions or just weird things that people say and do." The school's new "technicolour bookshelf," as Rathjen dubs it, is a powerful way to share that message. And Rathjen, said Koning, is a powerful ambassador. "For us to increase the collection of books that ... students would love to read, that's what we're about," he said. "The excitement from Sofia will make, hopefully, other students her age excited about reading." The first 39 books arrived at Rathjen's home during the at-home schooling period so, of course, she took the opportunity to read them. Books provide perspective She reviews books, too, on her Instagram account @the_technicolour_bookshelf, and happily rattled off suggestions to a CBC Radio producer who asked about titles. "OK, so Clap When You Land is by Elizabeth Acevedo. This is about two sisters who don't know that the other exists until their dad dies in a plane crash. And it's about grief and loss and also sisterhood. And it's really beautiful," she said. "And this, Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky, is based off of African and African-American mythology. And it's about a boy who punches a hole in the sky into a world of folklore that he thought were only stories." Rathjen said she worked hard to find books that will appeal to people of any ethnicity, whether or not they love books as much as her. Books, she said, are the way to see the perspectives of others. "There's a metaphor [about] windows and mirrors. So books are either a window into someone else's perspective and experiences, or a mirror of your own. "And so I think that's why I love reading so much. Because you get to read about so many different stories and experiences and put yourself in the shoes of other people." The end. For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.
Brazil's government will not seek to bar Chinese telecom equipment maker Huawei Technologies Co Ltd from 5G network auctions slated for June this year, newspaper Estado de S. Paulo reported on Saturday, citing government and industry sources. Financial costs potentially worth billions of dollars and the exit of ally President Donald Trump from the White House are forcing President Jair Bolsonaro to backtrack on his opposition to Huawei bidding to provide the next generation cellular network for carriers in Brazil, the paper said.
The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern): 11:15 a.m. Quebec is reporting 2,225 new COVID-19 cases and 67 further deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus. The number of hospitalizations dropped for a second day, this time by 22 for a total of 1,474 patients, and four fewer patients in intensive care for a total of 227. The province added 2,430 more recoveries, for a total of 210,364. The province has now reported 240,970 confirmed infections and 9,005 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. --- 10:45 a.m. Ontario is reporting 3,056 new cases of COVID-19 today along with 51 new deaths related to the virus. Health Minister Christine Elliot says 903 of the latest diagnoses are in Toronto, with 639 in neighbouring Peel region and 283 in York Region. The province says 1,632 COVID-19 patients are currently in hospital, with 397 in intensive care. Elliott says the province had administered 189,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine as of 8 p.m. on Friday. --- 10:30 a.m. Ontario says a shipping delay from Pfizer BioNTech means residents who receive an initial dose of the company's COVID-19 vaccine will have to wait longer than expected to receive their second one. The government says long-term care residents and staff who have been inoculated already will wait up to an extra week before a second dose is administered. Anyone else receiving the Pfizer vaccine were initially supposed to get a econd dose after 21 days, but will now see that timetable extended to a maximum of 42 days. The government says it's on track to ensure all long-term care residents, essential caregivers and staff, the first priority group for the vaccine, receive their first dose by mid-February. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 16, 2021. The Canadian Press
The provincial government has begun vaccinating British Columbia's most vulnerable against COVID-19 and an advocacy group for people with Down syndrome is hoping the group it represents will be added to this priority queue. Wayne Leslie, CEO of the Burnaby-based Down Syndrome Resource Foundation (DSRF), laid out his reasons why in a letter addressed to Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry earlier this week. Down syndrome is a genetic condition that can result in physical, mental, and developmental disabilities and, as a result, people with the condition can have complex health and mental health needs. In his letter to Henry, Leslie says people over the age of 40 with Down syndrome can develop high-risk medical conditions that are comparable to someone over the age of 70 in the general population. Leslie's complete letter to the province on behalf of the DSRF can be found here. According to the foundation, the average life span of a person with Down syndrome is approximately 60 years. The average life expectancy for British Columbians, according to 2017 Statistics Canada data, is 84 for women and 79.9 for men. The province has taken a phased-in approach to its vaccination program, with the first available doses being doled out to front-line health-care workers, and staff and residents in long-term care facilities. After that, the plan is to primarily vaccinate people by age, beginning with the most elderly. The priority vaccine groups can be found here. Recommendations to province Leslie's letter makes two recommendations — that adults with Down syndrome over the age of 40 be considered high priority for vaccination, and that individuals with Down syndrome between the ages of 16 and 39 also be given priority consideration. His letter highlights that adults with Down syndrome are four times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 and 10 times more likely to die from the virus. Leslie's statistics are based on research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in October that looked at a cohort of over eight million adults, of which just over 4,000 had Down syndrome. Twenty-seven of those with Down syndrome died of COVID-19. "One of the key reasons is that someone in their forties typically has the health issues associated with aging of the typical population in its seventies," Leslie told Stephen Quinn, host of CBC's The Early Edition, on Thursday. He said people with Down syndrome in the 16 to 39 category should be considered a priority because many individuals in that age group, due to the pandemic, are without critical programs and services such as mental health supports. People with developmental disabilities, including Down syndrome, often also depend heavily on predictable routines to successfully navigate daily life — routines that have been completely upended by COVID-19. "It's very hard for me and my friends," said 27-year-old Andrew Bingham, who has Down syndrome and is an ambassador for the foundation. Bingham said while he tries to stay connected with friends by text message, COVID-19 has already cost him a job, sports, and his social life. Provincial responses Premier John Horgan, addressing reporters on a wide range of issues Thursday, said he has received "piles of mail" from individuals and groups asking to be prioritized for a vaccine. "We want to start, I think the rule of thumb, is the older you are the more at risk you are," said Horgan. In a Thursday statement to CBC, the Ministry of Health said vaccines are not available to everyone at once and because of the challenges in storing and shipping the doses, certain groups have been prioritized. "As Dr. Henry has said, everybody is important in B.C. and everyone who the vaccine is recommended for will have access to it. But we know that some people are at higher risk, and that is why they are getting immunized first," said the statement. Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix will provide an update next week about when the general population in B.C. will be able to receive the vaccine. Leslie is optimistic the province will respond to his letter and consider his request. Using general population figures, the foundation estimates the Down syndrome population in B.C. to be somewhere between 3,500 and 4,000 people and about 2,000 of that group to be over age 16. Tap here to listen to Wayne Leslie and Andrew Bingham interviewed on CBC's The Early Edition.
The Brazilian jungle state of Amazonas received more emergency supplies of oxygen and respirators on Saturday, as the military and neighboring Venezuela scrambled to alleviate an unfolding humanitarian crisis caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. The Air Force also said it had evacuated 12 patients from hospitals in the state capital Manaus to the northern city of Sao Luis overnight, with hospitals at breaking point with no oxygen supplies and overflowing intensive care wards. Mass graves were dug in Manaus during the first wave of the pandemic last year.
A woman suffered serious injuries in a shooting Saturday morning, Regina police say. Officers were called to the 700 block of Athol Street at about 8:10 a.m. CST after being told a woman was shot, police said in a news release. The woman was taken to hospital by emergency responders. Police said officers were on scene Saturday morning to investigate and traffic is being diverted from the area. No further information was available. Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call the Regina Police Service at 306-777-6500 or Regina Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
NEW YORK — All federal prisons in the United States have been placed on lockdown, with officials aiming to quell any potential violence that could arise behind bars as law enforcement prepares for potentially violent protests across the country in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Wednesday. The lockdown at more than 120 federal Bureau of Prisons facilities took effect at 12 a.m. Saturday, according to an email to employees from the president of the union representing federal correctional officers. “In light of current events occurring around the country, and out of an abundance of caution, the decision has been made to secure all institutions,” the Bureau of Prisons said in a statement. The lockdown decision is precautionary, no specific information led to it and it is not in response to any significant events occurring inside facilities, the bureau said. To avoid backlash from inmates, the lockdown was not announced until after they were locked in their cells Friday evening. Shane Fausey, the president of the Council of Prison Locals, wrote in his email to staff that inmates should still be given access in small groups to showers, phones and email and can still be involved in preparing food and performing basic maintenance. Messages seeking comment were left with Fausey on Saturday. The agency last put in place a nationwide lockdown in April to combat the spread of the coronavirus. During a lockdown, inmates are kept in their cells most of the day and visiting is cancelled. Because of coronavirus, social visits only resumed in October, but many facilities have cancelled them again as infections spiked. One reason for the new nationwide lockdown is that the bureau is moving some of its Special Operations Response Teams from prison facilities to Washington, D.C., to bolster security after President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Authorities are concerned there could be more violence, not only in the nation’s capital, but also at state capitals, before Trump leaves office Jan. 20. A Bureau of Prisons spokesman said the agency was co-ordinating with officials at the Justice Department to be ready to deploy as needed. Earlier this month, about 100 officers were sent to the Justice Department's headquarters to supplement security staff and were deputized by the U.S. Marshals Service and given special legal powers to “enforce federal criminal statutes and protect federal property and personnel,” said the spokesman, Justin Long. The specialized units typically respond to disturbances and other emergencies at prisons, such as riots, assaults, escapes and escape attempts, and hostage situations. Their absence can leave gaps in a prison’s emergency response and put remaining staff at risk. “The things that happen outside the walls could affect those working behind the walls,” Aaron McGlothin, a local union president at a federal prison in California. As the pandemic continues to menace federal inmates and staff, a federal lockup in Mendota, California, is also dealing with a possible case of tuberculosis. According to an email to staff Friday, an inmate at the medium-security facility has been placed in a negative pressure room after returning a positive skin test and an X-ray that indicated an active case of tuberculosis. The inmate was not showing symptoms of the lung disease and is undergoing further testing to confirm a diagnosis, the email said. As a precaution, all other inmates on the affected inmate’s unit were placed on quarantine status and given skin tests for tuberculosis. The bacterial disease is spread similarly to COVID-19, through droplets that an infected person expels by coughing, sneezing or through other activities such as singing and talking. Mendota also has 10 current inmate cases and six current staff cases of COVID-19. As of Wednesday, the last day for which data was available, there were 4,718 federal inmates and 2,049 Bureau of Prisons staff members with current positive tests for COVID-19. Since the first case was reported in March, 38,535 inmates and 3,553 staff have recovered from the virus. So far, 190 federal inmates and 3 staff members have died. __ Balsamo reported from Washington. __ On Twitter, follow Sisak at twitter.com/mikesisak and Balsamo at twitter.com/mikebalsamo1 Michael R. Sisak And Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
A number of front-line doctors across Canada have volunteered their scarce free time over the past year to help Canadians understand COVID-19. Jeff Semple checks in with some of these doctors to answer your questions, and give us a glimpse into their lives.