Bright sunset lights up the sky.
British police were granted more time to question seven men arrested after hostile stowaways aboard an oil tanker in the English Channel prompted special forces to storm the vessel on Sunday. "Officers have been granted more time by Southampton Magistrates Court to question seven men as we continue to lead the investigation into the maritime security incident on board the Nave Andromeda off the coast of the Isle of Wight on Sunday 25 October," police said in a statement. The seven men, who are all Nigerian nationals, were arrested on suspicion of seizing or exercising control of a ship by use of threats or force, and will remain in custody until the evening of Wednesday Oct. 28.
Every year the Township of Perry budgets $3,000 to fund grant applications of up to $1,000 to help monitor water within the township. The Clear Lake Property Owners Association has been approved for their application at the last Perry council meeting. Council voted in favour of the application for $690.85. Monitoring lake and river water is important because it can help reduce the appearance of blue-green algae. Secretary for the Clear Lake Property Owners Association Geoff Pantling said the lake had a blue-green algae bloom approximately seven years ago. “We got more involved in what we could do to mitigate the circumstances so that doesn’t happen again,” said Pantling. “Getting the grant money has been able to help us get a lot more information and guidance out to our members and even the nonmembers.” “We try to get as much information out there as possible and the grant supports those promotions.” For blue-green algae to form, there must be almost ideal weather conditions and water chemistry, said Pantling. “Water chemistry is the most important factor,” he said. “If you start to get a high phosphorus rate that increases the likelihood of algae growing because it feeds off the phosphorus.” Shoreline erosion can contribute to phosphorus production. “If your water level gets too high above the natural shoreline — that rocky shoreline we like to see on a lake — if it gets above that then you’re washing in new soil and that new soil is going to put more phosphorus into the water,” said Pantling. The township’s water monitoring grant helps reimburse the costs of monitoring and testing bodies of water within Perry, said deputy clerk Beth Morton. “What happens is they set aside so much money each year,” said Morton. “And each association can apply for up to $1,000 to be able to do water quality testing or things to improve the quality of the water.” The Clear Lake Property Owners Association also tests septic systems by the lake on a voluntary basis as well as tests the water for E. coli. “Those (E.coli kits) are expensive and because we’re a not-for-profit organization we basically operate at a break-even level so to have the grant money come in and cover those costs has been great,” said Pantling. Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, muskokaregion.com
Now that the Supreme Court has allowed the Trump administration to end the 2020 census count, the courts should not interfere with efforts to meet a year-end deadline for turning in numbers used for divvying up congressional seats by state, Department of Justice attorneys said in court papers ahead of a hearing Tuesday. All further court challenges to the Trump administration's numbers-crunching methods for the 2020 census should be suspended as the U.S. Census Bureau works toward turning in apportionment numbers by a congressionally-mandated Dec. 31 deadline, Trump administration attorneys said ahead of a hearing before U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California.
Chatham-Kent’s Civic Centre renovations are once again on hold. At a recent meeting, council was set to discuss, for the fourth time, the $18.1 million needed for repairs and upgrades, but the report was pulled from the agenda hours before the meeting. “I actually asked for the report to be pulled,” said Don Shropshire, chief administrative officer of Chatham-Kent. “I got a call at about 3 p.m. on Monday afternoon from a potential investor that was putting some information in front of me that had not been shared previously. And it may impact council's deliberations or decisions to invest money within the Civic Centre, so I asked for it to be pulled.” Shropshire said it was too premature to release more details on this new investment opportunity and said he will release further information once council receives a report with all the details. Currently only 50 per cent of municipal staff who normally work out of the Civic Centre – less than 200 people – are working full time at the Civic Centre during the pandemic. Mayor Darrin Canniff said the opportunity is tied to the bigger picture on how the municipality will move forward in delivering its services. Economically, Shropshire said one of the recommendations brought back by the recovery task force was not to raise business taxes for next year, as “the business community's been hammered by COVID.” One way to achieve that goal would be to reduce municipal services. Chatham-Kent is also trying to take advantage of the new working-from-home norms to promote the municipality as a desirable place to live with remote working opportunities. At September’s meeting, council passed a motion directing administration to review which staff positions have been home-based during the pandemic and how they can maintain a working-from-home structure in the future. The economic and working situations means the municipality will have to take a look at how to either reduce services to save money or take some buildings off their hands as more services move online. “That is probably the one of the single hardest discussions to have is what's the optimum balance between the level of taxes people pay, because nobody wants to pay more taxes, with the level of service that we're actually able to afford,” Shropshire said. One item, which municipal staff will be looking at, is whether or not the current configuration of Chatham-Kent’s libraries is optimized, or whether we should be considering some other options. As an example, Shropshire said staff would be open to speaking with the people who run the Mary Webb Centre in Highgate to see if they would be open to housing the local library. Another option would be to enhance online services and increase bookmobiles, to reduce the costs of maintain a physical building. A library such as the one in Highgate only costs $45,000 to maintain, however, Shropshire said it is important for the staff and council to look at each little cost. “It's those incremental costs right across the board that if you don't touch any of them, because they're all small amounts, then you'd never get to have a chance to recognize any of them.” he said. Staff is planning to report back to council with recommendations for all services, libraries and arenas across the board. “We're not sitting back here and saying that any of the services that we're thinking of changing or reducing are in any way, shape, or form not valuable services,” Shropshire said.Jenna Cocullo, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chatham Voice
Ontario reported 827 more cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, while the province's labs processed fewer than 24,000 tests — about half of their daily capacity.Of the new cases, Toronto saw 355 new cases, while Peel Region recorded 169 and York Region 89.Meanwhile, the seven-day average of new daily cases, a measure that limits noise in the data and provides a clearer picture of longer-term trends, increased slightly up to about 879, another record high. Compared to the previous five days, the rate of increase slowed considerably. The province is also reporting 691 more resolved cases, and an additional four deaths, bringing the total death toll to 3,103.Also Tuesday, the Toronto Catholic District School Board reported 10 classes at St. André Catholic School in North York are self-isolating, eight of which are due to one infected staff member. The new case numbers come after a record-breaking weekend and seven-day average, which health officials said was partially to blame on Thanksgiving and other large gatherings. As for testing levels, Ontario currently has laboratory capacity for about 45,000 tests daily. Fewer than 30,000 tests were completed on each of the last two days.The province recently moved to limit tests for asymptomatic people, reserving them instead for those with symptoms or who had exposure to someone with a confirmed case. A Ministry of Health official told CBC News that since testing is demand driven, the numbers typically dip earlier in the week with fewer people booking appointments to be tested on the weekend. Asked about testing levels at a news conference Tuesday, Premier Doug Ford maintained Ontario continues to lead the country in testing, with nearly five million tests completed.Health Minister Christine Elliott added that the province has identified areas in Toronto and Peel Region for mobile or pop-up testing but provided no specific details about when and where that may happen. Hospitalizations climbThe relatively low number of tests has pushed the province-wide positivity rate to about 3.45 per cent, also a new high. Provincial health officials have previously said that a 2.5 per cent positivity rate is reason for serious concern.Meanwhile, the number of people in Ontario hospitals with confirmed cases of COVID-19 climbed above 300 for the first time during the resurgence of the illness that began in early August and continues today. More than 1,000 were hospitalized during the first wave of the pandemic in the spring.Of 312 people currently in hospital, 75 are being treated in intensive care and 52 are on ventilators.On Tuesday, Ford announced an investment of $116 million to increase hospital capacity by 766 beds across the province. The new beds are in addition to the 139 critical care beds and up to 1,349 hospital beds announced as part of the province's fall preparedness plan, Elliott said."We are taking another step today to keep that promise by adding hundreds more hospital beds across the province. This will not only ensure we are ready for any surges in COVID-19 cases, but provide patients with the care they need and deserve close to home," Ford said in a news release. The move isn't necessarily specific to COVID-19, however. In 2018, the Ford government announced an extra $90 million for hospital surge capacity to help cope with flu season. They year before, the then-Liberal government announced a boost of $100 million. Ford was also asked again Tuesday about MPP Sam Oosterhoff, who has apologized after photos posted online showed him at recent gathering of about 40 people, who squeezed in to take a picture together without masks on.WATCH | 'We all make mistakes,' Ford says after MPP Oosterhoff pictured at gathering without masks:The Niagara West MPP faced widespread backlash online after the incident, with the CEO of the Ontario Hospital Association calling for his resignation.In response, Oosterhoff said Monday there were fewer than the allowable limit of 50 people in attendance, but that, "I should have worn a mask when we took a quick [picture], given the proximity of everyone..."Ford said he has accepted Oosterhoff's apology. "MPP Oosterhoff apologized, he said it's not going to happen again, and I accept that," he said. "Everyone makes mistakes, he apologized, he's not going to do it again."Experts and officials have been warning about so-called "pandemic fatigue" for months, in which people who are sick of following the rules embrace riskier behaviour in order to see friends and family or do beloved activities. Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease specialist at Toronto General Hospital, told CBC on Tuesday that with a long winter ahead, it remains a major concern. What's needed, he said, is "messaging of how you can create safer spaces so people can do the things that they like to do, stay physically active, connect with others, enjoy themselves." North York General Hospital outbreak Another Toronto hospital has declared a COVID-19 outbreak after two staff members in its surgical program tested positive for the virus.North York General Hospital says both cases appear to be linked, and it will postpone non-emergency surgeries for the time being to limit the risk of infection.The hospital says there are no patient cases connected to the outbreak so far.Several other hospitals have been dealing with outbreaks of the novel coronavirus, which are generally defined as at least two health-care-related cases within a 14-day period.Ontario long-term care commission will grant workers anonymityNurses and personal support workers can now be granted anonymity when testifying for a commission examining Ontario's response to COVID-19 in long-term care homes.Long-term Care Minister Merrilee Fullerton says the government has changed the terms of reference for the independent inquiry to ensure the workers don't fear reprisal from their employers.Opposition critics called the move a good start, saying whistle-blower protections should be strengthened across the sector.The commission is investigating how the novel coronavirus spread in the long-term care system and will submit its final report on April 30, 2021.In interim recommendations issued late last week, the commission said the province must address critical staffing shortages at long-term care homes as the second wave of the pandemic intensifies.The province says there are currently 88 long-term care homes experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks.Toronto Western sends new COVID-19 patients to another hospitalToronto Western Hospital is now sending new COVID-19 patients to another hospital while it moves its current COVID-19 unit to another floor.The unit, known as 8A, and another one nearby, 8B, are dealing with an outbreak of the novel coronavirus. Three patients and seven staff members have tested positive.Alexa Giorgi, spokesperson for the University Health Network, said people with COVID-19 admitted through the emergency department at Toronto Western will be cared for at the COVID-19 unit at Toronto General Hospital temporarily. Toronto Western will take patients who need admission because of COVID-19 within the next 10 days, she said.Giorgi said the hospital has taken the following measures to deal with the outbreak: * Units 8A and 8B have been closed to new admissions and new patients with COVID-19 who go to Toronto Western are being diverted to Toronto General's COVID-19 unit. * The units are undergoing cleaning and there is enhanced cleaning of common spaces and the locker room. * The number of housekeeping staff in 8A has been increased for daily enhanced cleaning. * All staff in 8A and 8B are being tested regularly and there is contact tracing and isolation where appropriate. * Patients in 8B are being tested regularly and there is contact tracing and isolation where appropriate. * The hospital is implementing "stricter cohorting of shared staff." * An environmental assessment and a review of measures in place to encourage physical distancing has been done. * There are "daily interdisciplinary outbreak management team" meetings to ease internal communications and organize action plans."Management is continuing to closely monitor this situation as it develops," Giorgi said.
NEW YORK — The teenager who recorded the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police in May will be honoured in December by PEN America, the literary and human rights organization. Darnella Frazier will be presented the PEN/Benenson Courage Award. “With nothing more than a cellphone and sheer guts, Darnella changed the course of history in this country, sparking a bold movement demanding an end to systemic anti-Black racism and violence at the hands of police,” PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel said in a statement Tuesday. The 17-year-old Frazier will share the Courage Award with Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who was pushed out by the Trump administration. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, PEN had postponed its annual gala from May 19, six days before Floyd's death, to Dec. 8, and will host the event online. “Darnella Frazier took an enormous amount of flak in the wake of releasing the video,” Nossel told The Associated Press. “People were accusing her of being in it for the money, or for being famous, or were asking why she didn't intervene. And it was just left this way. We wanted to go back and recognize and elevate this singular act.” Others being honoured by PEN in December include the author and musician Patti Smith and Chinese dissident Xu Zhiyong. Hillel Italie, The Associated Press
President Donald Trump said he would shake up American trade policy. From Beijing to Brussels to Mexico City, he waged war with trading partners on multiple fronts. To rebalance America’s lopsided trade gap with China, Trump's trade representative, Robert Lighthizer, targeted what critics called Beijing’s drive for technological supremacy by hacking trade secrets, forcing foreign companies to hand over technology and unfairly subsidizing Chinese companies.
The tourism industry on P.E.I. saw a small recovery in August, with more Maritimers coming to the Island for holidays.The province's tourism indicators report for August still shows significant decreases in Maritime travellers compared to 2019, but the drop for the month was far less than the one registered in July.Total overnight stays by travellers from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in July were about one-half what they were in 2019. In August, the statistic was down by one-quarter compared to the year before.Hopes for a boost from staycations did not materialize. Total overnight stays by P.E.I. residents were a little below the level seen in 2019.With the Atlantic bubble requiring a two-week isolation period for visitors from outside Atlantic Canada due to the COVID-19 pandemic, visitation from other places was sparse. There was a drop of around 90 per cent for visitors from the rest of Canada, and 99 to 100 per cent for international visitors.Overall, total overnight stays were down 54.1 per cent in August, compared to 63.3 per cent in July.More from CBC P.E.I.
It’s an old cliche that if an actor wants to win an Oscar, he or she should consider playing a character with a disability. And it’s not entirely unfounded advice: 61 actors have been nominated for playing a character with a disability and 27 have walked away winners. But only two of those actors actually had a disability — Marlee Matlin in “Children of a Lesser God” and Harold Russell in “The Best Years of Our Lives.” That’s just one of the things that needs to change, according to a group of entertainment industry professionals with disabilities including actors Danny Woodburn, “A Quiet Place’s” Millicent Simmonds and “Peanut Butter Falcon’s” Zack Gottsagen. They and other creatives with disabilities, from directors to VFX artists, spoke about the state of representation in front of and behind the camera in series of virtual panels organized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that debuted Monday night. The panels, funded in part by a grant from the Ruderman Family Foundation, coincides with the 30th anniversary year of the Americans with Disabilities Act. “It would be really helpful to have a disabled (Disney) princess,” said actor and comedian Maysoon Zayid, who has cerebral palsy. Zayid noted that people with visible and invisible disabilities make up about 20% of the American population but a miniscule number of characters on television and in film. “The message being sent out to disabled kids is you do not belong in this world,” Zayid said. “People with disabilities face enormous amounts of bullying, violence and discrimination. Positive images of disability can stop that.” Part of that is casting actors with disabilities to play characters with disabilities. Simmonds, who is deaf, said she’s had to go up against non-disabled actors for disabled roles. She recalled that her “A Quiet Place” director John Krasinski had to fight to cast a deaf actor and that producers wanted someone who was hearing. “Deaf roles should be played by deaf actors,” she said through an interpreter. At times she's even taken it a step forward to advocate for herself. “I’m not above calling directors or producers and suggesting that they have a deaf actress for a particular role," she said. But another part of the equation is giving actors rich and nuanced storylines that go beyond the three they usually get: “'You can’t love me because I’m disabled,’ ‘heal me’ or ‘kill me,’” said Zayid. Woodburn, who has dwarfism, remembers watching actors like Michael Dunn when he was young and seeing only stereotypes and tropes like the “sad little man” or the “devious little man” and storylines that were the same. There is also the issue of working and how productions can be more accommodating to people with disabilities both on screen and behind the scenes. Many noted that they don’t want to ask for special accommodations. Zayid remembered being unable to get into her trailer on the set of “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan” and basically had to ask a production assistant to help hoist her up. “Adam Sandler saw and said, ‘What is happening? Make her trailer accessible!” I said I didn’t want to be high maintenance,” she said. “He said ‘look around, we’re in Hollywood.’” Jim LeBrecht, who directed the Netflix documentary “Crip Camp,” said it could help if the industry re-thought its own barriers to entry, like starting as a production assistant who has to carry 14 cups of coffee and work 20 hour days to get a foot in the door. “Instead of asking what you won’t be able to do, ask is there anything I can do to help you do the best work you can,” LeBrecht said. “None of us got to your door by being oversensitive and mad at everybody...we are comfortable with our disability.” VFX supervisor Kaitlyn Yang said that people with disabilities can be particularly effective in post-production roles. She’s also found a silver-lining in the video conferencing realities of COVID-era filmmaking: She doesn’t have to wonder now if she should address her wheelchair. “Video conferencing is taking away the uncomfortableness that people might have if I were to take a meeting and roll into the conference room,” Yang said. “It puts us on an equal playing field.” Talent manager Eryn Brown hopes that disability representation reach the same level of discussion as LGBTQ and racial and ethnic diversity. She said the ingrained stigma around it has even made her reticent to discuss it with her clients. “A raised awareness in this moment of cultural reckoning is imperative,” Brown said. “Anyone at any moment can become disabled so it’s in everyone’s best interests in the world to be accommodating.” The film academy, which puts on the Oscars, has been working to increase diversity in its own ranks and in the industry and recently set inclusion standards for best picture nominees. “As the Academy continues to examine longstanding issues of representation within the film industry, it’s imperative we bring conversations about disabilities to the forefront,” said Christine Simmons, who heads the Academy’s office of representation, inclusion and equity. ___ Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press
As the first signs of winter begin to appear around Ontario, the province is struggling with a surging second wave of COVID-19. Dropping temperatures and the onset of flu season have been joined this year by an explosion in positive cases of the novel coronavirus in Peel. Three months ago, the region moved into Stage 3, and a collective rebirth sent people back to their normal lives. Before that, in May and June, the virus showed signs of retreating just as warm summer weather began to appear. A year written off on almost every front, 2020 looked like it might actually turn around. But a rapid relaxing of restrictions, a return to school and general complacency have allowed the deadly killer to storm back, with key indicators of the pandemic’s impact in Peel looking bleak: they moved from green to orange and many now sit at red. The Region’s top public health doctor now says current closures, including the prohibition on indoor dining, will likely have to be kept in place beyond the initial 28-day period. On Sunday, Peel residents digested the chilling news that 28 percent of Ontario’s record-breaking 1,042 new cases of COVID-19 were right here in the region, currently the worst of the hotspots. The news came just over a fortnight after Peel was sent back to a modified Stage 2, shutting indoor dining and workout spaces. So far the move, which could still help, has not prevented the rapid climb in local cases. Peel’s current 28-day restrictions will likely be extended with COVID numbers trending in the wrong direction. Case numbers in Peel reached all time highs over the weekend. Data from Peel Public Health, which often lag behind the reporting out of the Ministry of Health, before reflecting full case counts, show a rapid climb in cases between October 18 and 23. Cases for the period increased from 134 on October 18, to 234 on the 23rd. Data not yet reflected in these counts, but shared by Health Minister Christine Elliott on Twitter, show Peel Region hitting highs of 215 Monday (25 percent of provincial total), 289 Sunday (28 percent), 170 Saturday (17 percent) and 186 Friday (23 percent). Peel accounts for roughly 10 percent of Ontario’s total population. A report by Peel Public Health published on October 23 shows high case counts aren’t the region’s only concern. Several key indicators, ranging from testing to hospital capacity and tracing efforts, show the pandemic already worsening in the region, ahead of winter and flu season. The region’s rolling seven day average of new infections (not including institutional settings like long-term care) is at the highest it has ever been, with an average of 146 new cases per day over the past week. Hospitalizations remain relatively low, but six long-term care and retirement homes are experiencing outbreaks and the median reproduction rate of the virus is at 1.1, meaning each case spawns just over one additional infection. There are also indications Peel’s local health unit is having trouble controlling the virus. Over the two weeks prior to October 23, the proportion of cases acquired from the community spiked dramatically compared to other sources of infection. During this time, community acquisition accounted for 49.4 percent of new cases reported, compared to an average of 22.7 percent of all cases since March. The high number over the past two weeks includes some cases that will eventually be reclassified if contact tracing links them to a known outbreak, Peel Public Health’s top medical official, Dr. Lawrence Loh, explained to The Pointer. The numbers also have to be contextualized, as travel initially accounted for a much larger portion of local cases, before community spread began after the virus was introduced. Institutional outbreaks, mostly in long-term care facilities, dominated the case numbers throughout much of the spring, before the novel coronavirus slipped out into the broader community. “That number has crept up,” he said, even taking into account the potential reclassification of some cases. Benchmarks for contact tracing also appear to be slipping, with only 67 percent of those tested positive contacted within 24 hours last week (the target is 90 percent). “I think that also reflects my concern in highlighting that we are starting to see wider spreads in the community which is why we really need the community to get this under control,” Loh added. With indoor dining and gyms closed in the Region of Peel, transmission is problematic in small to medium social events where attendees are not adhering to rules. “It is still very much being driven by household gatherings and social gatherings,” Loh said. “There is not one single large outbreak you can point to, it’s a number of different household and social gatherings that occured over the Thanksgiving long weekend, some of which were also with people who travelled into our community from out of province. That essentially resulted in the numbers we’re seeing.” It’s unclear why those figures would be so disproportionately high in Peel, with between 20 and 25 percent of Ontario’s cases daily over the past week. And Loh’s claim fails to explain why Brampton has consistently been so far outside the statistical norms in the rest of the province during long stretches of the pandemic. On September 2 and 6 the province’s fourth largest city, with about 4.5 percent of the population, accounted for 37 percent of COVID cases, during a two-week period when more than 20 percent of infections in Ontario were among Brampton residents (they could have contracted the virus elsewhere). A key argument Peel Public Health has used through the pandemic to reassure local residents is the fact it can trace the vast majority of cases to their source. Categories including travel, work outbreaks or household clusters allow local health officials to target where the viral spread is occurring. When cases are simply acquired in the community, it means tracers and experts are struggling to understand exactly where to look for the virus. The region’s positivity rate has increased, too. The indicator, which shows the percentage of tests confirming an individual has the virus, is another measure that shows if the pandemic is under control. “The World Health Organization uses a benchmark of less than 5 percent of samples positive for COVID-19 for at least two weeks as one indicator that the pandemic is under control,” Friday’s regional report explains. “In Peel and other Ontario jurisdictions, a 3 percent test positivity is used to flag increasing infection rates or insufficient testing rates.” Between October 4 and October 10, the Region of Peel as a whole recorded a positivity rate of 4 percent. Additional data shared by the health unit with The Pointer show significant increases. For the week ending October 17, Mississauga reported a test positivity of 3.8 percent, Caledon 4.9 and Brampton 8.1 percent. The region’s second largest city has not been able to meet per capita daily testing targets set by the Province, with only about a third of required assessments being conducted each day. It’s not clear why the Province has only maintained one assessment centre in Brampton since the start of the pandemic, while Mississauga has three. Brampton currently has more than double the positivity rate as its neighbour to the south, an indication that not enough tests are being done in the smaller municipality, which has approximately 650,000 residents who are served by only one test site. Changes to Ontario’s testing criteria, introduced by the Province at the end of September, play a part in the recent spike in positivity rates. Shifting from screening anyone to only testing those with symptoms or who might have come in contact with the virus means the percentage of positive tests will increase. More targeted screenings allows contact tracers to quickly and more effectively isolate those who might have been infected by anyone who tests positive. This is key, as viral spread can quickly get out of control in a setting or particular area if those who are infected don’t know and pass it onto others in the community, who then continue transmitting the microscopic organism to people they come in contact with. The higher current positivity numbers for each of Peel’s three municipalities have challenged the WHO’s target of 5 percent or below and Peel’s target of 3 percent and under. Positivity rates higher than those figures indicate a region where testing is failing to keep up with the spread of the virus. The figure in Brampton is almost three times the benchmark Peel Public Health uses to assess the state of the pandemic. For Ontario, the positivity rate has remained below 5 percent since May. Amid the dreary reality and forecasts of Ontario’s second wave, the bright spot many have referenced is relatively low rates of hospitalization. As epidemiologists are quick to point out, hospital statistics represent a lagging indicator, meaning high cases are followed by a delayed increase in hospital admissions which can be seen as much as three or four weeks after local spikes in COVID cases. During August and September, leaders highlighted the fact the majority of new cases of COVID-19 were reported among people under the age of 40, a cohort statistically less likely to require acute or critical care. As cases have grown, infection has spread through age groups and the virus has again begun to endanger those more likely to need serious medical assistance. In Peel, hospital capacity mirrors this trend, moving slowly in the wrong direction. The region has set a threshold of 90 percent capacity for acute and intensive care beds to differentiate between acceptable and problematic numbers. Acute care beds in Peel are already 93 percent full (compared to 92 percent on October 9), while critical care beds are 85 percent full (compared to 84 percent two weeks prior). The increasing rate of these lagging indicators is highlighted by the rate of ventilators in use. Three weeks ago, on October 2, 41 percent of beds with ventilators were occupied, rising to 47 percent on October 23, nearing the mark of serious ventilator capacity shortages when use reaches 60 percent. The Region of Peel does not break these statistics down by hospital. William Osler, which runs Brampton Civic, did not respond to a request for comment. Trillium Health Partners, responsible for hospitals in Mississauga, could not provide a total number of beds, but shared occupancy statistics showing Credit Valley Hospital ICU 80 percent full. As cases continue to race upward, threatening to trigger a domino effect that could bury local hospitals, lockdown measures seem set to continue. Asked by The Pointer if modified Stage 2 would be extended beyond its initial 28-day period in Peel, Dr. Loh said cases were showing no sign of slowing down. “At this point in time, there isn’t any suggestion that we’re seeing a decrease or an abatement in our case numbers,” Loh said, referencing the recent record breaking surge. “It’s clear that the restrictions may need to remain for a little while longer.” Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @isaaccallan Tel: 647 561-4879 COVID-19 is impacting all Canadians. At a time when vital public information is needed by everyone, The Pointer has taken down our paywall on all stories relating to the pandemic and those of public interest to ensure every resident of Brampton and Mississauga has access to the facts. For those who are able, we encourage you to consider a subscription. This will help us report on important public interest issues the community needs to know about now more than ever. You can register for a 30-day free trial HERE. Thereafter, The Pointer will charge $10 a month and you can cancel any time right on the website. Thank you.Isaac Callan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Pointer
It's a common reality for New Brunswick: students grow up here, get their university education here, then leave to work in other provinces.The University of New Brunswick is pushing for a deeper understanding of the factors that influence student retention and is conducting a comprehensive analysis aimed at this issue and its effect on the labour market.Funded by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, the university's New Brunswick Institute for Research, Data and Training will work with two provincial departments, Education and Post-Secondary Education, on an analysis of New Brunswick students, their educational experiences and their transition into the workforce. Using multiple sources of linked individual data on school experience, post-secondary education and subsequent labour market outcomes, the project will evaluate the return on investment of public education for individuals and for New Brunswick. A key component will be the examination of student retention, as well as how the province keeps its post-secondary graduates here and engaged in productive employment."Provincial governments make large investments in public education, which are expected to result in increased earning power for individuals and communities" as well as non-financial benefits such as "improved health behaviour and lower crime rates," McDonald said.But because the returns can accrue many years after the investment in education, many jurisdictions find it difficult to evaluate new educational programs, policies and projects, he said."This can be additionally complicated in a small province like New Brunswick, where a substantial percentage of students who go through the New Brunswick education system end up working in other provinces."René Arseneault, the MP for Madawaska-Restigouche and parliamentary secretary to the minister for ACOA, said the UNB project will offer insight into current labour market pressures and future labour availability."Overall, the information collected for this report could have a valuable impact on future educational programming that will benefit this region's economy for years to come," he said.The federal government, through ACOA, is contributing $137,775 to the project.
The 2020 Saskatchewan Election brought some clear winners and losers, even aside from the individual races themselves.Sask. Party Leader Scott Moe kept his seat in Rosthern-Shellbrook by a wide margin, while NDP Leader Ryan Meili's race is still too close to call.It was a tough night for the Green Party of Saskatchewan. Meanwhile the Buffalo Party beat out the NDP for second place in some areas.Here are some of the standout storylines.Wins: Sask. Party ministers and Buffalo PartyThe Sask. Party won a majority government for the fourth term in a row and Premier Scott Moe won his first general election as the leader of the party.Almost all the Sask. Party Cabinet Ministers were — or are projected to be — re-elected in their respective constituencies. Confirmed or projected winners include Gordon Wyant, Don Morgan, Donna Harpauer, Jim Reiter, Dustin Duncan, Christine Tell, Jeremy Harrison, Greg Ottenbreit, Ken Cheveldayoff, David Marit, Bronwyn Eyre, Paul Merriman, Gene Makowsky, Warren Kaeding, Joe Hargrave and Lori Carr.Tina Beaudry-Mellor, who is running for re-election in Regina University, is in a race too close to call at this time. The Buffalo Party turned some heads in its first election. The party had 17 people running and isn't projected to win any seats. However, it bumped the NDP out of second place in four ridings: * Cannington — Sask. Party's Daryl Harrison won with more than 5,500 votes. However, Wes Smith with the Buffalo Party took second place. * Cypress Hills — Sask. Party's Doug Steele won, but Buffalo Party candidate Crystal Tiringer took more than 1,350 of the riding's votes, more than half of what the NDP garnered, with mail-in ballots pending. * Estevan — Lori Carr won with more than 4,000 votes. The Buffalo Party's Michael Phillip Zajac had more than 1,650 votes, beating the NDP for second. * Kindersley — Ken Francis with the Sask. Party won with more than 3,000 votes. The Buffalo Party's Jason R. Cooper took second with more than 1,000 votes, compared to Steven Allen with the NDP who had about 300 votes Monday. Losses: NDP, replacement candidate and smaller party leadersNDP Leader Ryan Meili failed in his goal of significantly expanding the NDP seat count in the Legislature. Less than an hour after polls closed, the Sask. Party led or had been elected in 46 of 61 constituencies, according to the CBC News Decision Desk. Thirty-one seats are needed for a majority government. Meili said his volunteers and fellow candidates ran a great campaign, but that "it wasn't enough this time."A replacement candidate also didn't have the win they hoped for. In August, the NDP announced they had removed Sandra Morin as their candidate for Regina Walsh Acres. In a statement, the party said Morin was removed as a result of a confidential vetting process.Morin ran as an independent and is projected to lose by around 2,000 votes. Her NDP replacement, Kelly Hardy, is also projected to lose, trailing by about 700 votes to the Sask. Party incumbent, Derek Meyers, with 1,191 mail-in packages having been requested in the riding.None of the leaders of the smaller parties in the province were elected to the Legislature. Wade Sira, leader of the Buffalo Party, lost in Martensville-Warman. Robert Rudachyk, leader of the Sask. Liberal Party, lost in Regina Walsh Acres. Green Party Leader Naomi Hunter was defeated in her riding of Regina Elphinstone-Centre.The Green Party did not break into second place in any ridings but is projected to take third in more than a dozen, albeit with less than 10 per cent of the total vote in each riding. The Buffalo Party had fewer candidates running than the Green Party, yet received more votes.A final loss was for the three people running as independents. Rolf Hartloff ran in Regina Elphinstone-Centre, Sandra Morin ran in Regina Walsh Acres and Nestor Mryglod ran in Regina Wascana Plains. All three were defeated. The last independent candidate to win a seat in Saskatchewan was Louis Marcien Marion in the constituency of Athabasca in 1948.
The Reuters image of the night of Oct. 16, when police tried to use force to disperse protesters, has become one of the most widely published of months of demonstrations to call for the ousting of the government and reforms to the powerful monarchy. For the man in the picture, Anurak Jeantawanich, 52, it was the moment when he tried to stop them. Having witnessed a bloody crackdown on "red shirt" anti-establishment protests a decade ago, he had more experience than many of the youth protesters as he crouched beside them facing riot police and water cannon behind a barricade of colourful umbrellas.
Quebec will extend COVID-19 restrictions in the province’s red zones for at least two more weeks to try to et the virus back under control, but some independent gym owners say they will defy the rules and reopen this week.
The McCullough Centre, where up to 75 homeless men can receive support to recover from addictions or mental health problems, will be closed by February 2021.The 11 residents who currently live at the facility in Gunn, Alta., will transition to other community supports over the next few months, Alberta Community and Social Services said Monday in a statement. Intake had stopped at the centre in August 2019 in anticipation of the shut down.The centre's closure will save the province around $3 million a year, the statement said.The facility's 63 employees no longer have positions, but some may be able to stay on with the ministry, the province said.Heather Sweet, NDP opposition critic for mental health and addictions, called the decision disturbing. "We are seeing an increase in the homelessness population in our major centres, we are seeing an increase in mental health and addictions among many Albertans during a global pandemic," Sweet said. "The fact that the government would make a decision to halt health care and treatment programs doesn't make any sense."The closure is counter to the government's promise to create 400 additional treatment beds in the province, she said."They have said that they're going to invest in recovery centres and addictions and mental health, and yet they're shutting down that very service?"The McCullough Centre, about 65 kilometres northwest of Edmonton, provides counselling for residents but is not a licensed addictions treatment facility, the province said.Sweet said it could easily have become one."They could work with that facility and make sure that they are following the requirements of the current government philosophy, but instead they're just shutting it down."She worries the closure could further limit access to mental health supports outside of major urban centres. "This is a rural Alberta service that supports rural Albertans and they need access to mental health and addiction services," said Sweet.
An Alberta pediatrician will find out on November 17 if a judge thinks he sexually assaulted a nine-year old girl. Dr. Ramneek Kumar was practising in St. Albert at the time of the alleged incidents. The complainant was the daughter of a family friend and was not a patient. Kumar has been charged with sexual assault and unlawful touching of a person under the age of 16.In August 2015, the child's family and the Kumars were vacationing together in Waterton Lakes National Park. During the trial, the girl — who is now 14 — testified she was touched by Kumar several times when no one else was around.The teen testified that soon after the group of 11 arrived at the large rented cabin in Waterton, Kumar followed her to an upstairs bedroom and touched her shoulders and chest area. She said similar incidents took place in the kitchen and then again in a change room at a local pool. In the change room, the girl said Kumar touched her hair and chest area before warning her not to tell anyone because she'd be teased if people found out she couldn't change out of a bathing suit on her own. "She was a good witness," defence lawyer Alain Hepner admitted during his sentencing arguments. "She was not a shrinking violet." Her identity is protected by a court-ordered publication ban. Kumar also took the stand in his own defence and denied any inappropriate sexual touching. "Dr. Kumar was unshaken, solid," Hepner told Court of Queen's Bench Justice Vaughan Hartigan in Lethbridge court Monday afternoon. "He was a reliable, believable witness." The defence lawyer said that at the very least, he believes Kumar's testimony should raise a reasonable doubt and the judge should find him not guilty. In a written brief, Hepner suggested it strains credibility to think that a doctor would risk his profession and reputation by touching a nine-year-old girl. The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta suspended Kumar's licence to practise in May 2019, but a Court of Queen's Bench judge overturned that decision just a couple of months later, allowing the doctor to resume seeing patients as long as there was a chaperone present.According to the college's website, Kumar is currently practising pediatrics at a Calgary clinic. He was present in court Monday afternoon along with his wife. An issue of credibility Both the Crown and defence said it will be up to the judge to decide whose version of events he should believe. Prosecutor Darwyn Ross suggested the judge should dismiss Kumar's version of events based on contradictory evidence given by Crown witnesses, including the girl's father. The father told the court that a few weeks after the alleged incident, his daughter told him that Kumar was a "monster", but refused to elaborate. "This is a young girl, nine years old, who took some time to figure it out, understand it," Ross told the court. "Her motivation was seeing a documentary [about abuse] that sparked some strength inside. So she was ready to tell her family." Charges were laid in 2019.Ross said the girl has since received counselling and medications. He said she's experienced wetting the bed, being distant and moody. Now, he said she's motivated to put it behind her. The girl and her family were not in court for the closing arguments.
You’ve seen it before: the terrified child crying at the sight of a syringe. St. John’s psychologist Janine Hubbard is so tired of the image, she specifically asked The Telegram not to use it. “If you do an attached photo for any of this, please don’t use the screaming child with the needle coming at them,” she said Monday with a chuckle. “Seriously, we have worked so hard to get that out of the media.” But many parents do encounter it first-hand. One St. John’s mom remembers the blood-curdling scream her seven-year-old son let out in the doctor’s office two years ago and wondered if it had leached into the drugstore below for all to hear. She’s hoping for less stress this time. “We’re really hoping that being around his buddies, all having to do the same thing, will help a great deal.” As a parent, your instinct may be not to bring up the pending puncture — just spring it on them at the last minute and pray it goes well. Bad idea, says Hubbard. It’s far better to talk it through and prepare for the event. “Sometimes it’s just the sight of a syringe, in which case, sometimes you can just get the empty syringes from the pharmacy, without the sharp point,” she said. Encourage younger children to drink water out of the syringe for fun, or to go around and give vaccinations to all their stuffed animals. Band-Aids, especially ones representing favourite cartoons, are the perfect antidote. Superheroes are even better. “Then you get the kid to go around with their superhero Band-Aid and go, ‘Look at what I did today.’” Most important, she says, is not to lie. “The worst thing you can do is say, it’s not going to hurt. You might get away with that once, and then you’ll never, ever get them to have another vaccination.” There’s a particular stigma for those who carry a fear of needles into adulthood. But Hubbard says it’s not as rare as you’d think. “It is an extremely common fear because it’s something that does happen to most of us but not very frequently. And the thing with anxieties are, the more you avoid them, the bigger the fear becomes.” Fear of needles actually stops some people from getting proper health care. “It’s something that they know is needed, and they’re almost embarrassed or ashamed that they’re not able to do it because of fear,” Hubbard said. “It stops them in some cases from getting appropriate health care on a variety of things, not just their flu shot.” The solution? Once again, preparation is key. Do some self-evaluation. “Am I someone who needs to know every step of the way what’s going to happen?” If that’s you, watch videos about it, or go through the motions. Get used to the smell of alcohol wipes if that’s what triggers you. See a psychologist if necessary. It could be a symptom of a general anxiety disorder or it could be a very specific phobia. At the big event, distraction is key. “Engage your brain in something that’s going to distract you from what’s going on,” she said. That could simply be talking about the news or weather or the movie you just saw. “We’re really lucky this year,” Hubbard said. “We’ve got a whole wealth of places we can go to access it. So, figure out where you’re most comfortable.” And 2020 may present a unique opportunity, she said. “There’s no shame in it. There’s no stigma in it. And maybe this is the year, given the COVID situation, to take the plunge and try to fight back against that fear.” Peter Jackson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram
Chatham-Kent won’t be applying for the second round of financial COVID-19 aid from the province because of stipulations that prevent it from addressing future deficit issues. The municipality has already received $5.8 million in the first phase of the Safe Restart Agreement Fund. At a recent council meeting, council voted not to apply for the second round because of government conditions that would render the funds useless. “When we went through all our expenses we couldn’t justify, for 2020, the use of another $5.8 million for COVID-related expenses. But we will certainly need it for 2021,” Mayor Darrin Canniff explained. The first round of funds was “no questions asked” but the second round would require a full account of how the expenses will be used in 2020. Pandemic-related deficits from 2021 are not allowed to be taken into account. Canniff said the numbers are still being crunched for the upcoming year, but the municipality can foresee shortfalls from the Cascades Casino’s decreased revenue, a decline in arena use, and with interest rates deteriorating. “Those are a couple of examples and there’s nothing we can do for it.” Canniff said all other Tier 1 municipalities, with the exception of Ottawa, are in the same boat and plan to lobby for the changes. “We need it (the funding) for 2021 because as on Jan. 1 this will not magically disappear and all of a sudden get better. Although I wish it would,” he said. Chief financial officer Gord Quinton told councillors at the meeting that they have been asking the province all along for unconditional funding so municipalities could have the flexibility needed to allocate monies as they see fit. Half the funds currently received will go toward paying off the deficit, estimated to cost between $2.5 million and $3 million. Quinton said the phase 2 funding could be used to help keep property tax increases to a minimum or funding new grants to assist with COVID-19 issues. He added that all other municipal councils will be asked to pass a similar resolution. “And so that the money won't be left on the table and hopefully flow back to us for 2021 budget issues. The motion also endorsed sending a letter to Ontario’s minister of municipal affairs and housing requesting that changes to the Phase 2 eligibility, funding 100 per cent of COVID-19 expenses for land ambulance and public health without impacting property taxes, increase funding to cost share affordable housing initiatives, and to work with all government levels to declare broadband Internet an essential service. “I'm incredibly supportive of sending this letter to the provincial minister. I think that in the same way that each community is experiencing the intensity of COVID differently, at different times, as a municipality it's really important for us to be able to use our best judgment and how it is that we leverage those provincial dollars,” said South Kent Coun. Melissa Harrigan.Jenna Cocullo, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chatham Voice
LONDON — A British judge will rule next week on whether Johnny Depp was libelled by a tabloid newspaper that branded him a wife-beater — an accusation his lawyer called a “reputation-destroying, career-ending” false allegation. Britain’s judicial office announced Tuesday that judge Andrew Nicol will deliver his verdict in writing on Nov. 2, without a hearing at the High Court, where Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard had a dramatic three-week legal showdown in July. The case, with its accusations of drug abuse, emotional turmoil and drunken fights, cast a stark light on the private lives of the celebrity couple, who met on the set of 2011 comedy “The Rum Diary” and married in Los Angeles in 2015. They separated the following year and divorced in 2017. “Pirates of the Caribbean” star Depp sued News Group Newspapers, publisher of The Sun, and the newspaper’s executive editor, Dan Wootton, over an April 2018 article that accused him of assaulting Heard. Over several days in the witness box, Depp, 57, branded he allegations a “hoax” and claimed Heard was the aggressor during their volatile relationship. “He has never hit a woman in his entire life — period, full stop, nada,” Depp’s lawyer David Sherborne said in closing arguments. Heard, 34, testified as the main witness for the defence, saying Depp turned violent under the influence of alcohol and drugs. She alleged 14 separate incidents between 2013 and 2016 in which he hit, slapped and shoved her, pulled her hair and threw bottles at her “like grenades.” “I didn’t want to do this, I did not want to expose this totality of what really happened to me,” Heard said in court. “I didn’t want to talk about everything that happened in our marriage and happened in our relationship.” The Sun’s lawyer, Sasha Wass, said in her summing up that there was no doubt Depp “regularly and systematically abused his wife.” But Depp’s lawyers accused Heard of fabricating evidence, calling her an unreliable witness and “a compulsive liar.” Whatever way the judge rules, it’s unlikely to be the end of the legal drama. Depp is also suing Heard for $50 million in Virginia over a Washington Post story about domestic violence. The trial is due to be held next year. Jill Lawless, The Associated Press
Spin Master is adding to its toy chest again.The Toronto-based company said Tuesday it will pay $50 million for Rubik's Cube, the iconic game that has captivated and confounded millions of people since it was invented nearly 50 years ago.Hungarian inventor Ernő Rubik created the game of coloured blocks that need to be sorted in 1974 before it launched globally in 1980 and went on to sell hundreds of millions of units.For those who've never seen one, a Rubik's cube is essentially 27 small coloured cubes stacked together into a larger cube form, all of which rotate around a central core.The cube starts with all one colour on each of its six outer faces, and the challenge is in spinning the cubes around and then trying to get the colours back to their original configuration. It sounds simple enough, but as anyone who has ever tried and failed to solve one can attest to: it is not.The inventor says the cube has attracted more attention than he ever imagined."It is a curious fact — one that surprises me as much as anyone — that for so many decades during a time of an unprecedented technological revolution, fascination with such a simple low-tech object has survived," Rubik wrote in Cubed: The Puzzle of Us All.Popularity in pandemic not so puzzlingIndependent toy analyst Chris Byrne says toys like Rubik's cube are enjoying a resurgence in popularity because of the pandemic that has kept hundreds of millions of people around the world at home, and has parents scrambling to find entertainment options that aren't electronic screens."You're seeing all kinds of things out there that are providing learning," he said in an interview. "It's not ABCs and one, two threes it's actually problem solving and dimensional thinking — things that are the building blocks for things later on but that are actually fun," he said.He said the deal is a savvy move for both sides."It is very stable, it's a globally known brand, it's a nice thing to add to their games portfolio — I think they got a great deal," he said. "I's a well known iconic brand that hasn't had a lot of effort behind it [but] they are going to put a lot of marketing muscle behind it," he said."A whole new generation of kids are going to find it fascinating."Founded by three friends in 1994, Spin Master went public on the TSX and quickly began an aggressive strategy of acquiring other toy brands. The Rubik's Cube purchase comes after takeovers of similarly iconic toys of yore, including Etch A Sketch, plush toy company Gund, and flying disc Aerobie.In addition to those nostalgic brands, Spin Master also owns modern brands such as Paw Patrol and Hatchimals.The deal is the 12th acquisition since Spin Master went public five years ago.
A man has been charged by police after making anti-Black racist comments at a Glen Ames Senior Public School student before physically assaulting him on Monday, Oct. 26. It was the second incident involving the unnamed man, with the first occurring on Oct. 14 with a group of students at lunch. The school sent a letter to parents and guardians then and again on Oct. 26 after police charged the man. “The incident took place off school property as the student was making his way home from school,” Principal Kristina Wessenger-Macdonald said in the letter. “Other students and a staff member who witnessed the altercation intervened and provided assistance to the student.” “It goes without saying that this is very upsetting but thankfully the student was not seriously injured,” she added. Toronto Police Services were on site to arrest and charge the man, and gave him conditions that he not to be allowed within 100 metres of school property. Wessenger-Macdonald said the school’s staff will increase vigilance and patrols of the grounds, while a social worker has been arranged to provide support for students upset by the incident. “We want to emphasize to all our students, staff, and parents the importance of awareness and care even in our everyday routines,” she wrote. “Our staff regularly review with students the kinds of precautions they can take to safeguard themselves. Students are encouraged to walk with a buddy to and from school and to report any suspicious activity or strangers to a staff member.” Wessenger-Macdonald encouraged parents and guardians with questions and concerns to contact the school. The name of the charged man has not been released. The school letter described him as white, approximately 20 years of age, with a thin build, approximately five-feet, nine-inches in height, with dark brown curly hair.Ali Raza, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Beach Metro News
A memoir featuring small-town Chinese restaurants and the families who run them in Canada has won two major book awards. Canadian journalist Ann Hui's "Chop Suey Nation: The Legion Cafe and Other Stories from Canada's Chinese Restaurants" took a top prize in this year's Taste Canada Awards. It has also won the Literary/Historical Food Writing category of the International Association of Culinary Professionals' 2020 Cookbook Awards.
Northwest Territories communities are considering whether to change the territory's isolation rules in a series of meetings with Premier Caroline Cochrane and senior pandemic response officials. At the moment, almost anyone entering or returning to the territory must isolate for 14 days in one of the territory's four largest communities: Yellowknife, Hay River, Inuvik, or Fort Smith. The rule exists to provide an extra layer of protection for smaller, more isolated N.W.T. communities, where medical services aren't as developed. However, some of those smaller communities are starting to request alterations to the isolation rules. For example, the village of Fort Simpson is looking to allow more medical travellers to return to the community for isolation. At the moment, Fort Simpson residents heading south to Alberta for medical procedures must stay in Hay River, a seven-hour drive away, for two weeks when they return. Discussion of changing the rules arose at an emergency meeting of communities on Sunday, called two days earlier by the premier after the N.W.T. reported four new cases of COVID-19 in a week. They are the territory's first confirmed cases in half a year. Communities will continue that conversation with the premier at further meetings on Wednesday and Friday this week. "They're going to have two consultation-type meetings with mayors and chiefs to go over how they feel about self-isolation – whether their communities are willing to open up things and be a little more flexible about how isolation is working," Mayor of Fort Simpson Sean Whelly told Cabin Radio after Sunday's meeting. "I'll definitely be bringing it up," Whelly said, referring to his community's desire for more residents heading south on medical travel to be allowed directly home on their return. "Fort Liard, too, wants to see more of their residents coming back to the community and not having to isolate in the hub," he said, characterizing the neighbouring Dehcho community's views during Sunday's discussion. "The government is definitely open to that. They want to hear how it can be done and whether communities are comfortable with some changes – and if they are, to what degree? I think we'll know by the end of the week." Mayor of Yellowknife Rebecca Alty said Sunday had also provided an opportunity for the larger isolation hubs, like her city, to feed back on the process. "I think there is a lot of room for improvement when it comes to isolation," Alty said. "The complaints I hear from residents are about the turnaround time to get your plans approved and some of the confusion that sometimes exists there. "The NWT government has committed to trying to improve that." All 33 N.W.T. communities were invited to Sunday's meeting. The premier's office said 24 communities were represented. According to a summary provided by her office, Premier Cochrane used the meeting to tell communities their leaders had a responsibility to "normalize the fact that the N.W.T. will get new cases of COVID-19." "The meeting was an opportunity to provide community leadership a general update on the GNWT Covid response, including an update on the recent cases. There was also opportunity for a question-and-answer period," said a spokesperson for the premier. Premier Cochrane, they said, had "reiterated the need for calm." Last week, the premier and chief public health officer had each appealed for residents to dial down what they termed the "online backlash" whenever a new case of COVID-19 is reported. "She was talking about residents continuing to be kind to each other," said Whelly, "This complaining about people leads to a lot of division in the territory. We still have to realize we're all in this together. Rather than picking on each other, let's find ways to work together. I agree with her there. "We can't lose our humanity in our little communities here." Whelly said there was not, in general, an air of heightened concern from communities. Some, he said, appeared less inclined to change the existing rules than others. Alty said the meeting also touched on the risk that complacency had set in among some residents after a summer with no reported cases of the virus. "Having so few cases since April, folks were starting to get a bit lax and forget the rules," Alty said. "People are starting to see how quickly it could possibly spread if there was community transmission." Yellowknife is not contemplating any immediate change in the municipality's pandemic response, she added, though digital contact tracing has been introduced at city facilities. Earlier in the spring and summer, meetings between community leaders, the premier, and pandemic response officials were taking place every week. However, they became less frequent as the territory reached October with no fresh cases of the virus. Whelly said a month or more may have occasionally passed between meetings. Sunday's meeting came after the territory moved from five to nine confirmed COVID-19 cases within a week. It was organized through the N.W.T. Association of Communities. Those attending – according to the territorial government – were Behchokǫ̀, Enterprise, Fort Good Hope, Fort Liard, Fort McPherson, Fort Providence, Fort Resolution, Fort Simpson, Fort Smith, Gametì, Hay River, Inuvik, Kátł’odeeche First Nation, Łutselk’e, Norman Wells, Paulatuk, Tsiigehtchic, Tuktoyaktuk, Tulita, Ulukhaktok, Wekweètì, Whatì, Yellowknife, and the Yellowknives Dene First Nation. "Early in the onset of the pandemic, there were regular meetings with Indigenous and community governments," the premier's spokesperson said by email, confirming Sunday's meeting had taken place at comparatively little notice. "Over the summer, the meetings were less frequent and there was a commitment to convene a meeting if there were additional cases." Sarah Sibley contributed reporting.Ollie Williams and Sarah Sibley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cabin Radio
As more communication has moved online during the pandemic more opportunities have arisen for cyber criminals to defraud people. Jas Dhillon of Coast Capital Savings explains how to protect yourself from fraud.