Indi and Emmet, along with their three other siblings, are living with Long COVID after first contraction the virus in March 2020.
Indi and Emmet, along with their three other siblings, are living with Long COVID after first contraction the virus in March 2020.
(NASA/JPL-Caltech - image credit) When the Perseverance rover successfully landed on Mars last month, it arrived with a B.C.-made tool in its figurative tool belt. The six-wheeled, plutonium-powered U.S. rover landed on the red planet on Feb. 18, with a mandate to drill down and collect tiny geological specimens that will be returned to NASA in about 2031. That drilling will be done using a drill bit tip designed and manufactured by a company based in Langford, B.C. "It has great wear and fraction resistance so it is perfect for a Mars application," said Ron Sivorat, business director for Kennametal Inc., during an interview on CBC's All Points West. The drill bit tip is made from K92-grade tungsten carbide blanks, which Sivorat said are one of the toughest grades used for drilling here on earth and he is confident it will be good enough for Mars. According to Sivorat, the company has had a relationship with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory since 2014, when the space agency first began ordering and testing Kennametal Inc. drill bit tips. In 2018, the company learned NASA wanted to work with it to build a bit for Perseverance. Sivorat said staff built the drill bit to NASA's specifications and then sent it to the agency who finessed it somewhat for its Mars mission. When Perseverance landed safely on the fourth planet from the sun, it was an exciting moment for Kennametal Inc. employees, many of whom watched the landing online and are continuing to check on Perservance's daily progress updates. "We know that we are going to be part of, in one way or another, an historical event that will be remembered for many years to come," said Sivorat. Sivorat said he expects the drill bit built in B.C. to start penetrating the surface of Mars in the next couple of weeks. And B.C. is not the only Canadian province with a connection to Perseverance. Canadian Photonic Labs, based in Minnedosa, Man., manufactured a high-speed and highly-durable camera that played an instrumental role in landing the rover. The Manitoba company's relationship with NASA dates back roughly 15 years, he said — but much of the work that's happened in that time has been cloaked in secrecy.
As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks. Here's a list of their plans to date: Newfoundland and Labrador The province says it is in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout. Health-care workers on the front lines of the pandemic, staff at long-term care homes, people of "advanced age" and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities have priority. Chief medical health officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald has said Phase 2 will begin in April if vaccine supply remains steady. The second phase prioritizes adults over 60 years old, beginning with those over 80, as well as Indigenous adults, first responders, rotational workers and adults in marginalized populations, such as those experiencing homelessness. Adults between 16 and 59 years old will be vaccinated in the third phase of the rollout, and Fitzgerald has said she expects that to begin this summer. --- Nova Scotia Health officials began expanding access to COVID-19 vaccines on Feb. 22, opening community clinics for people aged 80 years and older. Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health, has said the province's plan is to open another 10 clinics in March for 48,000 people who will be mailed a letter informing them how to book an appointment. Strang said the vaccination program will then expand to the next age group in descending order until everyone in the province is offered the chance to be immunized. The age groups will proceed in five-year blocks. Future community clinics are to be held March 8 in Halifax, New Minas, Sydney and Truro; March 15 in Antigonish, Halifax and Yarmouth; and March 22 in Amherst, Bridgewater and Dartmouth. The province began its vaccination campaign with residents of long-term care homes, those who work directly with patients, those who are 80 and older, and those who are at risk for other reasons including First Nations and African Nova Scotian communities. Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021. --- Prince Edward Island The province says the first phase of its vaccination drive, currently slated to last until the end of March, targets residents and staff of long-term and community care, as well as health-care workers with direct patient contact at higher risk of COVID-19 exposure. Those 80 and older, adults in Indigenous communities, and truck drivers and other rotational workers are also included. The next phase, which is scheduled to begin in April, will target those above 70 and essential workers. The province intends to make the vaccine available to everyone in late summer and fall. --- New Brunswick The province is also focusing on vaccinating those living in long-term care homes, health-care workers with direct patient contact, adults in First Nations communities and older New Brunswickers in the first phase, which lasts until at least March. The next phase is scheduled to begin in the spring and includes residents and staff of communal settings, other health-care workers including pharmacists, first responders and critical infrastructure employees. The government website says once the vaccine supply is continuous and in large enough quantities, the entire population will be offered the shots. --- Quebec Quebec started vaccinating older seniors on Monday, after a first phase that focused largely on health-care workers, remote communities and long-term care. In Montreal, mass vaccine sites including the Olympic Stadium opened their doors to the public as the province began inoculating seniors who live in the hard-hit city. The government announced last week it would begin booking appointments for those aged 85 and up across the province, but that age limit has since dropped to 70 in some regions, including Montreal. The province says the vaccination of children and pregnant women will be determined based on future studies of vaccine safety and efficacy in those populations. --- Ontario The province began vaccinating people with the highest priority, including those in long-term care, high-risk retirement home residents, certain classes of health-care workers and people who live in congregate care settings. Several regions in Ontario moved ahead Monday with their plans to vaccinate the general public, while others used their own systems to allow residents aged 80 and older to schedule appointments. Toronto also began vaccinating members of its police force Monday after the province identified front-line officers as a priority group. Constables and sergeants who respond to emergency calls where medical assistance may be required are now included in the ongoing first phase of Ontario's vaccine rollout, a spokeswoman for the force said. A day earlier, Toronto said the province expanded the first phase of its vaccination drive to include residents experiencing homelessness. The provincial government has said it aims to begin vaccinating Ontarians aged 80 and older starting the week of March 15, the same day it plans to launch its vaccine booking system, which will offer a service desk and online portal. It has said the vaccine rollout will look different in each of its 34 public health units. When asked about the lack of provincewide cohesion, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that public health units know their regions best and that's why they have been given responsibility to set the pace locally. --- Manitoba Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people in the general population. Appointments are now available for most people aged 94 and up, or 74 and up for First Nations people. Until now, vaccines have been directed to certain groups such as health-care workers and people in personal care homes. Health officials plan to reduce the age minimum, bit by bit, over the coming months. Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province's vaccine task force, has said inoculations could be open to all adults in the province by August if supplies are steady. --- Saskatchewan The province is still in the first phase of its vaccination rollout, which reserves doses for long-term care residents and staff, health-care workers at elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors over the age of 70 and anyone 50 or older living in a remote area. In all, nearly 400,000 doses are required to finish this stage. The next phase will be focused on vaccinating the general population by age. It hopes to begin its mass vaccination campaign by April, but there if there isn’t enough supply that could be pushed back to June. Saskatchewan will begin immunizing the general population in 10-year increments, starting with those 60 to 69. Also included in this age group will be people living in emergency shelters, individuals with intellectual disabilities in care homes and people who are medically vulnerable. Police, corrections staff and teachers are among the front-line workers not prioritized for early access to shots. The government says supply is scarce. --- Alberta Alberta is now offering vaccines to anyone born in 1946 or earlier, a group representing some 230,000 people. Appointments are being offered through an online portal and the 811 Health Link phone line. Shots are also being offered to this cohort at more than 100 pharmacies in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton starting in early March and the government has said there are also plans to include doctors’ offices. Health Minister Tyler Shandro has said all eligible seniors should have their first shots by the end of March. But he said Monday that the province will not give Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone over the age of 65 after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization expressed concerned there is limited data on how well it will work in older populations. The first phase of the vaccine rollout also included anyone over 65 who lives in a First Nations or Metis community, various front-line health care workers, paramedics and emergency medical responders. Phase 2 of the rollout, to begin in April, is to start with those 65 and up, Indigenous people older than 50 and staff and residents of licensed supportive living seniors’ facilities not previously included. --- British Columbia British Columbia will extend the time between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to four months so all adults could get their initial shot by the end of July. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says evidence from the province and around the world shows protection of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The province launched the second phase of its immunization campaign Monday and health authorities will begin contacting residents and staff of independent living centres, those living in seniors' supportive housing as well as homecare support clients and staff. Seniors aged 90 and up can call to make their appointment starting next Monday, followed a week later by those aged 85 and over, and a week after that by those 80 and up. Henry also says first responders and essential workers may be eligible to get vaccinated starting in April as the province also decides on a strategy for the newly authorized AstraZeneca vaccine. --- Nunavut The territory says it expects enough vaccines for 75 per cent of its population over the age of 18. After a COVID-19 vaccine is administered, patients will be tracked to ensure they are properly notified to receive their second dose. Nunavut's priority populations are being vaccinated first. They include residents of shelters, people ages 60 years and up, staff and inmates and correctional facilities, first responders and front-line health-care staff. --- Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories its priority groups — such as people over 60, front-line health workers and those living in remote communities — are being vaccinated The territory says it expects to vaccine the rest of its adult population starting this month. --- Yukon Yukon says it will receive enough vaccine to immunize 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March. Priority for vaccinations has been given to residents and staff in long-term care homes, group homes and shelters, as well as health-care workers and personal support workers. People over the age of 80 who are not living in long-term care, and those living in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are also on the priority list for shots. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
SUDBURY, Ont. — Public health officials have ordered the closure of two more schools in Sudbury, Ont., after more COVID-19 cases were linked to outbreaks. Public Health Sudbury and Districts is advising all students, visitors and staff at Jean Hanson Public School and Algonquin Public School to self-isolate and immediately get tested. Specific classes were dismissed at the two schools last week when COVID-19 outbreaks were declared. The health unit says it has since determined potential widespread infection at the schools. It says the schools have no confirmed cases of a COVID-19 variant to date. The closures follow the dismissal of two other schools – Lasalle Secondary School and Cyril Varney Public School – last week after five confirmed cases of COVID-19 variants were found. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Mar. 1, 2021. This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. The Canadian Press
Businesses can’t survive lockdowns without more help, according to some of participants in a virtual meeting organized by the past president of the West Nipissing Chamber of Commerce. Government and community leaders, along with the Chamber’s board of directors, took part in the meeting facilitated by past Chamber president and local business owner, Joanne Valliere. The topic was about how the extended lockdown is impacting small businesses across the region. Many local business owners say they are facing financial hardships and do not feel that the current government funding and resources are sufficient. “It has been evident that local businesses are struggling, and the government grants and loans are not cutting it. It’s not the same offering curbside, it can’t make up for the loss that we are having,” Valliere, said. “Owners and their employees are feeling the financial pressure. If the lockdown is extended past March 8, we will lose many small businesses this time. It is possible for businesses to open in a safe way.” Rebecca Foisy, executive director of the West Nipissing Chamber, has been an advocate for small business owners in the region. “I am in constant contact with Chamber members, listening to their feedback to address their concerns,” said Foisy. “Local business owners want to reopen their businesses in a safe manner, and I’m working closely with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce to bring these concerns to the attention of government officials.” In the session, Liberal MP for Nickel Belt, Marc Serré, declared that his office will be making an official request to determine what data the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit is utilizing that lead to the extended lockdown in the region. The full meeting is available for viewing on YouTube HERE. Dave Dale is a Local Journalism Reporter with BayToday.ca. LJI is funded by the Government of Canada. Dave Dale, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca
Chatham-Kent restaurants, gaming establishments, cinemas, performing art venues and gyms are able to receive an intake of 50 clients after the provincial government moved the municipality to the Orange Zone. On Friday the Ontario government, in consultation with its chief medical officer of health, announced it was moving nine public health regions to new levels in the Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework. The change came into effect Monday morning. During the past two weeks, with the Fairfield Park long-term care home outbreak under control, new cases have significantly decreased, prompting the zone change. The move into Orange means Chatham-Kent saw a weekly incidence rate of 25 to 39.9 new cases per 100,000 residents. On Friday, four recoveries and four new cases of COVID-19 were reported, keeping the active total at 17 cases. Limits for organized public events and gatherings in staffed businesses and facilities, where physical distancing can be maintained, has increased to 50 people indoors and 100 outdoors. Religious ceremonies and weddings can continue to see an indoor occupancy of 30 per cent of a room’s capacity. Fitness or exercise classes can only have a maximum of 10 people and must take place in a separate room. New vaccine on the block Health Canada also announced on Friday that it gave the green light to the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine which has an efficacy rate of 62 per cent from 15 days after the second dose was given to the study’s participants. It was authorized for use in individuals 18 years of age and older. "Today's approval of AZO by Health Canada represents a major addition to the armamentarium in the fight against COVID-19. I am very pleased," said Dr. David Colby, Chatham-Kent’s medical officer of health. The vaccine will be produced in Ontario and India. The Ontario-produced AstraZeneca vaccine will have 500,000 doses quicker. “There’s been no update in terms of when Chatham-Kent will receive this particular vaccine, but Health Canada produced a statement saying that it will begin being distributed in April,” Colby said. Colby added that the provincial projections for its vaccination schedule are based on only Moderna and Pfizer availability, with more being added, projections will need to be updated. His original timeline for Chatham-Kent was to have the population inoculated by September and to date things have been going on schedule. Jenna Cocullo, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chatham Voice
WASHINGTON — U.S. manufacturing expanded in February at the fastest pace three years with the arrival of a surge in new orders. The Institute for Supply Management reported Monday that its gauge of manufacturing activity rose to a reading of 60.8% last month, 2.1 percentage-points above the January level of 58.7%. It was the strongest performance since February 2018. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion in the manufacturing sector. The 60.8% reading last month matched a similar reading in February 2018 and the level in those months was the highest since a reading of 61.4% in May 2004. The survey found optimism increasing with five positive comments for every cautious comment, up from a 3-to-1 ratio in the January survey. Timothy Fiore, chair of the ISM manufacturing survey panel, said the survey shows that a recovery is ongoing as manufacturers find ways to deal with supply-chain shortages and lingering pandemic issues such as short-term shutdowns at some plants to sanitize facilities. Manufacturers are also benefiting from a shift in spending, with Americans spending money on homes and other projects rather than going out to restaurants or risking shopping indoors, Fiore said. “They are buying all kinds of items that the manufacturing economy builds,” he said. “As long as parts of the services sector are shut down, Americans are spending on hard goods. The index for new orders rose to 64.8%, up from 61.1% in January, while the employment index stood at 54.4%, up from 52.6% in January, the report found. However, manufacturers are having to wrestle with lengthening delivery times for components at many factories. Michael Pearce, a senior economist at Capital Economics, said that reflected in part “increasing global shortages of electronics and in particular semiconductors.” He said these shortages could hold back the recovery in manufacturing output in coming months. Last week, President Joe Biden signed an executive order intended to boost manufacturing jobs by strengthening U.S. supply chains for advanced batteries, pharmaceuticals, critical minerals and semiconductors. A widening global shortage of semiconductors for auto parts is forcing major auto companies to halt or slow vehicle production just as they were recovering from pandemic-related factory shutdowns. “The comments in the report also make it crystal clear that these shortages go well beyond just semiconductors with firms in every sector reporting shortages and problems with suppliers keeping up with demand,” Pearce said. Other analysts said they believed manufacturing would be able to overcome the supply chain issues. “Strong consumer demand for goods, increasing business investment, a roaring housing market and global economic growth are all supporting U.S. manufacturing,” said PNC Chief Economist Gus Faucher. Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press
A study published Wednesday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) found the risk of death from COVID-19 was 3.5 times higher than from influenza. The numbers put a figure on the severity of the novel coronavirus, which experts have been speaking to since the pandemic began. The study analyzed hospitalized cases of COVID and influenza between November 2019 and June 2020 in seven Toronto-area hospitals, finding that people admitted with COVID-19 were 1.5 times more likely to need intensive care, and stayed in hospitals 1.5 times longer than patients admitted with influenza. The study used data extracted from hospital computer systems to describe details of patients' hospitalizations, says Dr. Amol Verma of St. Michael's Hospital and the University of Toronto. That data included things like demographics, vital signs, laboratory test results, use of hospital resources like ventilators, and outcomes of their hospital stay — whether they died in hospital, needed intensive care, or were re-admitted. The findings from the Canadian study were similar to results recently reported in France and the United States, the CMAJ says. "We can now say definitively that COVID-19 is much more severe than seasonal influenza," Verma said in a release. The study described hospitalizations in Toronto and Mississauga, Ont. — areas with large populations and high levels of COVID-19 — and included all patients admitted to medical services or the intensive care units (ICU) for influenza or COVID-19. There were 1,027 hospitalizations for COVID-19 in 972 patients — some re-admissions were included in the study — compared to 783 hospitalizations for influenza in 763 patients. Those figures represent 23.5 per cent of all hospitalizations for COVID-19 in Ontario during the study period. Most patients hospitalized with COVID-19 had few other illnesses, and 21 per cent were younger than 50 years of age. People younger than 50 also accounted for 24 per cent of admissions to the ICU, the study found. While COVID-19 generally affects older adults more severely, Verma says the study highlights that the illness can also have serious impacts on younger people. The flu hospitalizations included in the study happened mainly from November 2019 to February 2020, Verma says. While COVID hospitalizations from the study occurred mainly from March to June, Verma adds there were some earlier cases in the Toronto area that were also included. Verma says the figures may be "magnified" by low levels of immunity to the COVID virus, compared to that of the seasonal flu. He adds that COVID vaccines should help decrease severity of the infection over time. "There is, unfortunately, also the possibility that variants of the virus could be even more severe," he added. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 10, 2021. The Canadian Press
Alberta urban municipalities are concerned provincial cuts to municipal funding will impact their ability to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. On Feb. 25, the province released its 2021-22 budget. That budget shows the Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) – a major source of provincial funding for Alberta’s municipalities, especially on the capital side – will live on two years longer than expected, before a new fiscal framework kicks in. More MSI dollars are being doled out this year, before significant cuts take effect in 2022-23 and 2023-24. Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) president Barry Morishita said they understand the difficult financial situation the province is in, but investing in municipalities is important for the province to recover from the pandemic and recession. “We have to be cognizant that by reducing investment and eliminating the stability and the predictability for municipal finances, we're not helping put the province on a path to recovery,” Morishita said. "There can't be a good economic recovery or any economic recovery without municipalities leading that.” This year, municipalities across the province will get $1.2 billion in MSI dollars, $200 million more than was given out last year, in an attempt to protect the economy from job losses during the pandemic and recession. But after the spike in funding, the total funding will drop by 44 per cent, with municipalities across the province sharing $485 million for the following two years. For each of those years, the province is putting an additional $375 million in a new pot of money it will invest in strategic capital projects, called the Economic Recovery Capital Envelope. Raising taxes to make up for the shortfall delivered by MSI would be an “untenable situation,” he said. “There are going to be service cuts, there are going to be things that aren't built, there is going to be maintenance that isn't done. And that is all going to be costlier for the Alberta taxpayer in the long run.” In the short-term, Morishita said funding cuts are going to impact the ability of municipalities to deal with economic development and build the infrastructure needed to attract investments in communities. Local governments are going to be looking at their five and 10-year capital plans to try and figure out what projects can be delayed a bit longer, Morishita said. “That's extra work for us but more importantly, it's going to delay a lot.” The lack of funding and collaboration with municipalities is a missed opportunity for meaningful engagement with local governments to foster economic recovery and resiliency, Morishita said. Cuts to MSI will hurt rural communities as well, as some local governments are already trying to make up for millions in unpaid oil and gas taxes. Initiatives requiring regional collaboration could be put at risk, he said. “Any reduction overall to municipalities across the board is a reduction in the ability to supply those services to all of us," Morishita said. “On a regional basis, there could be severe impacts.” The AUMA president said the province hasn’t done a good job of sitting down with local governments, talking about solutions and taking their suggestions seriously. With many communities facing an "opioid death crisis," Morishita said he was disappointed there wasn’t more funding to address the immediate impacts of overdose in the budget. The budget sets aside funding for recovery and treatment, but Morishita said they want to see more funding for organizations that deliver direct intervention to deal with what is a “serious, serious crisis.” Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, St. Albert Gazette
Trystan Lackner first got interested in urban food security way back in his senior year of high school after a supportive vice-principal helped him build a community garden in barren soil where portable classrooms had been removed. It ended up producing around eight or 10 grocery bags full of lettuce, potatoes, carrots and other produce that they donated to local volunteer group Feed The Need Durham. But it only lasted the year that Lackner and classmates he had brought along were there to sustain it. “It was a seed,” says Lackner, explaining he didn't have the experience or knowledge at the time to carry it forward. “The community garden was there, and then it wasn't, and there wasn't any communication of those ideas.” Fast-forward a few years and a degree in international development later, and Lackner is looking to make a more lasting impact. After six months of preparation, Lackner and colleagues hosted an online summit called "Does Your Meal Plan Cover Climate Change?" last month as part of Youth Challenge International’s Innovate MY Future program. “Our whole idea was to develop an educational summit for young people to become more aware, get involved, and connect with the experts within the field,” he says, about the Youth Roots Durham project. The hope is that more informed communities will build more resilience into the process by which they get fed, one that faced a sharp shock due to COVID-19 disrupting global supply chains, as well as ongoing threats to the same system from climate change. The summit included a weekend panel discussion of experts followed by networking, and workshops on the links between food and climate change, the benefits of moving from mass production of commodity crops, and how to get involved in pushing for more sustainable practices. One speaker at the summit was a local permaculture farmer, who grows multiple crops in proximity to each other for mutual benefit. The practice can reduce the need for pesticides and cut carbon emissions by limiting the need to transport food, Lackner explains. The information gathered in the course of the project is being prepared to be archived on a page of the Durham Food Policy Council’s website, ensuring that unlike his high school garden, Lackner’s legacy may live on. The region — which is suburban in its southern sections near Lake Ontario and more rural in its north towards the Lake Simcoe border — exports most of its produce in the form of commodity crops, such as soy and corn, Lackner says. He says that with demand for food to expand by roughly 70 per cent in coming decades as our global population approaches 10 billion people, innovative solutions applied locally will be key. “There is a very high possibility that you will see in the next decade or two, if we can innovate more with the greenhouses and produce more in warehouse settings, you can essentially urbanize and create factories of food within these large urban centres,” he says. In addition to these modern factory farms, Lackner wants to see more rooftop gardens and government policy that sets aside land to protect it from being developed other than as farmland. And for young people wondering what they can do, he says just dive in. “Get out there, get your hands dirty. Make that change that you want to see,” he says. “If you see something that no one else is doing or that's missing, don't wait for someone else to get that going, start it yourself and get involved. There is a way to do all that and connect with the experts and community partners.” Morgan Sharp, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
Canadians perusing social media may be coming across photos of their American peers bearing wide smiles and vaccination cards that show they've been inoculated against COVID-19. A recent ramping up of the United States's vaccine rollout has it vastly outpacing its northern neighbour, and some Canadians are wondering why distribution here is lagging so far behind. Dr. Krutika Kuppalli, an infectious disease doctor in South Carolina, says that while the speed of the American rollout has been impressive lately, it's not been without its faults. Communication between states has been mostly lacking, she says, and the absence of a uniform standard for vaccine eligibility has led to inconsistencies across jurisdictions. Some states, for example, include teachers high on their priority list while others are still working on inoculating those 80 years and older. Confusion in the early stages of the rollout caused frustration and dampened trust, she added. And while the shift to a new presidential administration last month has led to some improvements, Kuppalli says there's room for more. "I don't think we're the model of success," she said in a phone interview. "We've had a lot of challenges. ... but it's getting better. "Communication is better, there's definitely greater transparency, and states have been very forthcoming in ramping up vaccine measures and rolling out mass vaccination sites. So all that's helping." The U.S. was vaccinating an average of 1.7 million Americans per day this week, and had administered at least one dose to more than 12 per cent of its population as of Friday. Canada, which recently dealt with weeks of shipping delays and disruptions from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, has doled out nearly 1.4 million doses since its rollout began mid-December, covering about 2.65 per cent of its population with at least one dose. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday vaccine delivery is set to rapidly increase, however, with provinces preparing to roll out almost a million and a half doses over the next three weeks. The Americans have many factors in their favour when speeding up vaccine distribution, experts say, including a much more expansive supply than Canada's that's bolstered by production from U.S.-based Moderna. While having supply is the first step, Kuppalli says getting those vaccines into pharmacies, where they can be easily administered, has also helped. The American government announced weeks ago its aim to supply vaccines to about 40,000 drugstores in the coming months. Canada has not yet reached the pharmacy stage of its vaccine rollout, but Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease expert with the University of Toronto, expects that to happen once we have enough supply to branch out. "We have the exact same plan, we just need the critical mass of vaccines," said Bogoch, who's also on Ontario's vaccine distribution task force. "When we get that, you're gonna see from coast to coast vaccines offered at many different settings." While pharmacy distribution makes sense for a quick rollout, it also can lead to problems with wasted doses if people aren't showing up for their appointments, says Kelly Grindrod, a professor at the University of Waterloo's School of Pharmacy. Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines need to used within a relatively short timeframe after they're thawed from ultra-cold storage temperatures, Grindrod says, and once a vial has been punctured, that interval decreases further. She says Canada has been learning from wastage setbacks other countries are experiencing, and she expects Plan B lists to be compiled of individuals who can quickly fill in when no-shows arise. Those lists have to be made fairly though, she cautions. "You have to make sure there's no queue-jumping. So it's not your friend coming in, it's actually people who would fall normally on the next round of priority." Grindrod says queue-jumping — where people with lower risk of contracting the virus or experiencing a bad COVID outcome are vaccinated before higher-priority groups — has been more culturally unacceptable in Canada than it has in the U.S., a country without a universal health-care system. So there's some justifiable outrage, she adds, when Canadians see American friends boasting about getting their jabs, especially if they're not in high-risk populations. "Equity is probably the most important principle of the Canadian vaccine rollout," Grindrod said. "And I'm not sure that's the case in the U.S." While the American rollout has had its faults, Grindrod admires some of the more unique approaches happening south of the border to ensure high-risk groups can get their doses. She noted the recent role Black churches have played in co-ordinating inoculation drives among typically underserved neighbourhoods, and the pharmacists who have been driving vaccines into remote communities to inoculate those who can't easily get to an immunization centre. "You're seeing really positive examples where communities themselves are helping to create effective outreach," she said. "So I think those are the real lessons we can learn from the U.S." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 21, 2021 Melissa Couto Zuber, The Canadian Press
TORONTO — On set they called her "COVID Cathy," or "CC" for short. As the COVID-19 supervisor on the new Toronto-shot CBC series "Pretty Hard Cases," Catherine Lang had to not only help develop pandemic protocols for the production, but also keep a close eye on the cast and crew to ensure they were following them. It can be a tricky position, having to police everyone while trying to prevent positive cases, but Lang says she was determined to keep the mood upbeat. "What I found the hardest about COVID supervising was that it's hard to spend 100 per cent of your day worrying about people's health. And unfortunately, I'm a bit of a worrier," Lang says. "Eating, breathing, sleeping — 24-7 — I couldn't get it out of my mind. Because at the beginning all I could think was, 'What if I do something or don't do something and somebody gets sick?' And that was quite a large stress for me." Lang's position, which is also sometimes called a COVID compliance officer, is a now common one on Canadian film and TV sets. And it's one she predicts will be around for another year or so. The supervisor typically works alongside the producers and a team of medical, health and safety professionals to create COVID protocols using government guidelines and ensure they're adhered to. Both industry and medical professionals can qualify for the position. "They were accepted, but definitely were the sort of hall monitors of the production shoot that can frustrate people when they're trying to do their jobs," Alex Jordan, a producer on Global's "Private Eyes," says of their COVID supervising team. "We had to be very cognizant of the mental health of everyone. To some people's opinion, you're not doing enough. And in some cases, people are like, 'This is too much. You're overkill.'" "Kim's Convenience" star Paul Sun-Hyung Lee says their COVID protocol officer was Cher Merlo, who has a background in film and TV production. She "worked tirelessly" on things like modifying the actors' masks and shields to ensure they would be effective but wouldn't disrupt their hair and makeup between takes. "She had the hardest job on set, because her job was to be the bad guy and to remind them of the protocols and of doing things like sanitizing your hands and wearing your mask and staying two metres apart," Lee says. "Pretty Hard Cases" stars Adrienne C. Moore and Meredith MacNeill say they went to great lengths to help Lang not feel "like a bad guy." "I remember when Cathy gave her first speech at the start, Adrienne and I looked at each other and then gave her the biggest cheer. We were like 'Cathy!'" says MacNeill. "We used to call her COVID Cathy. We were like 'CC, yes, in the house!' The staff knew Lang was "only trying to help," notes MacNeill. "So we approached it, and the whole crew approached it, with a 'thank you.'" Lang had worked as an assistant producer and production manager before becoming a COVID supervisor on "Pretty Hard Cases." Lang says she read everything she could about the virus and "spent many hours on the phone" with producer Wanda Chaffey and executive producer Amy Cameron. The three developed protocols for every department with a consulting physician. "As I would walk through the set, I would see people adjust their masks and pull their shields down. It was very cute," Lang says laughing. Of course, Lang also wore personal protective equipment, since she had to be in more spaces on set than most. She says she "never felt unsafe" but found the thought of somebody getting sick in the workplace "horrifying" and had to learn to stop worrying about things that were out of her control. "Eventually I had to say to myself, 'I can't stop this. I can control what happens in the workplace to an extent, but I can't control what happens outside of the workplace.'" The cast and crew were very compliant, Lang says, noting "everybody really wanted to be safe." Chassey and Cameron were with her every step of the way. In the end, they had no incident of anyone contracting COVID-19 at work, she says. While there were two positive cases, they were contracted outside production, caught through testing and had no community spread. Toronto nurse Meghan McKenna became a COVID supervisor on the CBC series "Coroner" through her employer, the third-party medical consulting firm Oncidium, which provided guidance and support to the show, including a full-time nursing staff. She hadn't worked in film and TV before and was "on a steep learning curve" in that regard as they collaborated with producers, she says. They held mandatory health sessions for everyone on set. One of McKenna's key goals was for the cast and crew to understand the uncertain nature of a pandemic, so if provincial case numbers rose and protocols changed, they would be onboard instead of feeling they were being fed misinformation. She also taught everyone how viruses or bacteria spread through communities, so when pandemic fatigue set in, they understood how to protect themselves and why every single protocol matters. The pressure on the job comes with not wanting to see the production fail, says McKenna. But her experiences working in hospital have taught her she "can't control what people are doing 100 per cent." She also likes the idea that should someone have a medical issue on set, she's able to guide them through it and manage it. McKenna's nursing background and experience in emergency rooms also helped her feel "fine with being the police" on set. "That is such a big part of health teaching, is telling people things they don't want to hear," she says. "I really like the challenge of getting through to someone over time." While producers say "Coroner" had "a few issues" with COVID-19 cases, they weren't on set, were easily contact-traced and had no community spread. And no one had to be reminded of the protocols later in production, McKenna says. "Everyone's helping remind each other," she says. "The crew is all keeping each other safe," adds "Coroner" executive producer Suzanne Colvin-Goulding. "Everybody has adopted the mentality that we are in this together." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 9, 2021. Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Alongside the headline-grabbing race for a COVID-19 vaccine, the hunt for effective treatments has unfolded with its own share of flameouts and triumphs.Thanks to large randomized trials in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, administering steroids to patients with moderate or severe illness has become part of standard care, but clinicians say few other tools have emerged.The best known COVID-19 drug is likely dexamethasone, a corticosteroid with anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressant effects for hospitalized patients who need help breathing. But while that drug is credited with helping efforts to bring down hospital mortality rates, credit also goes to discoveries about what does not work against the novel coronavirus – thereby ensuring people get appropriate care.Here's a look at some of the drugs – deemed effective and not – that made headlines in recent months for fostering hype and hope:HEALTH CANADA-APPROVEDRemdesivir – Sold under the name Veklury, this Gilead Sciences drug was among various treatments given to former U.S. President Donald Trump when he successfully overcame COVID-19 last year. But its ability to cut deaths has since been largely discounted by a World Health Organization trial. An earlier study by Gilead found the drug helped moderately ill patients recover more quickly if given for five days, but that benefit was less clear if given over 10 days.Health Canada noted clinical trial data was limited when it approved remdesivir for COVID-19 last July but said "given the high unmet medical need and emergency context of the COVID-19 pandemic, Health Canada considered the balance of benefit and harm for Veklury to be positive."Bamlanivimab – The federal government paid US$32.5 million for 26,000 doses of this monoclonal antibody that targets the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2. Eli Lilly says an intravenous infusion can ease and prevent COVID-19 symptoms among mild-to-moderate cases in high-risk groups including seniors.Nevertheless, it has yet to be embraced by clinicians, with Hamilton infectious disease physician Zain Chagla calling it "a good example of a drug that might work on paper but really isn't a great drug to invest in."The associate professor of medicine at McMaster University points to barriers to implementation, which include the staffing and time required to implement the transfusion. Alberta Health Services says it's considering a trial to determine "potential for benefit and feasibility of use" while British Columbia said Monday a clinical trial in Surrey would be funded by AbCellera, the Vancouver company which helped discover bamlanivimab. CAUTIONS AGAINST EARLY HYPEHydroxychloroquine – Commonly used to treat lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, this drug earned infamy when U.S. President Donald Trump touted its efficacy with COVID-19 before the science was in. Since then, multiple rigorous trials have concluded it offers no benefit to preventing or treating illness while underscoring the dangers of mixing politics and science.Colchicine – Just last week, the Quebec government cautioned clinicians against embracing this anti-inflammatory as a COVID-19 therapy after the Montreal Heart Institute touted the common gout medication as "a major scientific discovery." Scientists at the National Institute for Excellence in Health and Social Services acknowledged the institute's study showed positive results, but said the benefit was too small.OTHER CONTENDERSTocilizumab – Dr. Niall Ferguson, head of critical care at the University Health Network and Sinai Health System, sees potential in early data for tocilizumab, approved for use in Canada to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Although evolving data has been mixed and is still emerging, Ferguson notes the monoclonal antibody is already being used off-label for some severe patients.Heparin – Canadian scientists involved in a global trial for this blood thinner say interim data suggests it can keep some moderately ill COVID-19 patients from deteriorating further. University Health Network scientist Ewan Goligher says the probability of requiring life support dropped by about a third among subjects. He expects the study's findings to be released soon.Peginterferon-lambda – Research into this prospective antiviral treatment was recently published in Lancet Respiratory Medicine. Lead researcher Dr. Jordan Feld, a liver specialist at UHN's Toronto Centre for Liver Disease, says a small Phase 2 trial found it significantly sped recovery for outpatients. Although more research is needed, he suspected it could offer an important way to quickly bring down the virus level in infected patients and reduce their risk of spreading disease to others.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 9, 2021. Cassandra Szklarski, The Canadian Press
“Dark Sky,” by C.J. Box (Putnam) Steve Price, the billionaire left coast CEO of a social media company, wants to go elk hunting in Wyoming. He’s hankering for a “real” wilderness experience, he tells the state’s governor, because when a guy like Price wants to shoot something, that’s who he calls. The governor, hoping a good experience will convince Price to choose Wyoming for his new headquarters, orders Game Warden Joe Pickett to make it happen. Traipsing through the rugged mountains with a spoiled-rotten greenhorn and his fawning entourage isn’t on Joe’s bucket list, but the governor doesn’t give him much choice. Joe can lose the attitude or his job. But in “Dark Sky,” C.J. Box’s 21st Joe Pickett novel, another Wyoming outdoorsman is thrilled at the news that Price is coming. Earl Thomas blames social media in general and Price in particular for online bullying that he thinks drove his daughter to suicide. Earl figured he’d have to go to Silicon Valley to get his revenge, but now Price is coming to him. As it turns out, the suicide may have been mostly Earl’s fault, but acknowledging that is not in his tool kit. So as Price and Pickett head into the mountains to hunt elk, Thomas and his two thuggish sons mount up to hunt them. The result is a suspenseful, action-packed yarn set in the vividly described wilderness around Battle Mountain. Meanwhile, as Joe is struggling to survive, his pal Nate Romanowski, a not fully reformed outlaw turned falconer, has troubles of his own. Somebody has been sealing his falcons, and if Nate ever gets his hands on him, blood will be spilled. This subplot ends in a cliffhanger, an obvious teaser for Joe Picket No. 22. ___ Bruce DeSilva, winner of the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award, is the author of the Mulligan crime novels including “The Dread Line.” Bruce Desilva, The Associated Press
(The Canadian Press/Cole Burston - image credit) Despite plans in other Ontario regions to start pre-registration for vaccinations, Toronto's medical officer of health says Toronto is dealing with much more "complicated and wide-ranging" situation. "As the largest city in the country, we have much more ground to cover," Medical Officer of Health Eileen de Villa said at a press conference on Monday, noting that the number of people who are 80 years and over in Toronto is "roughly equivalent" to the population of the city of Guelph. Some public health units, like York Region, have started accepting appointments for residents over the age of 80. "This is a sensible course of action for them based on their size," de Villa said. "Toronto is organizing a vaccination campaign in a much more complicated and wide-ranging landscape." Nine city-operated immunization clinics are on schedule to be ready to open on or before April 1, according to the City of Toronto..De Villa said they will also be using mobile teams of immunizers and pop-up clinics to ensure that vaccinations levels are consistent across the city. In an update at the same conference, de Villa said that Toronto has seen 312 new cases of COVID-19 and 1 new death. Mayor John Tory also discussed the roll-out of immunization clinics. He said the city expects more than 350 community immunization sites, including 49 hospital-run vaccination clinics, 46 operated by community health centres and 249 operated by pharmacies. He said these sites will be in addition to the nine city-run vaccination sites, while mobile and pop-up clinics will be added later. "This will be the largest vaccination effort in the history of Toronto and I am very confident that we are ready to meet this challenge," Tory said. He said the city has also released its vaccination playbook, which includes plans for addressing vaccine hesitancy. Starting March 1, front-line police officers will be eligible to be vaccinated as part of the first phase if they respond to emergency calls where medical assistance may be required. Approximately 2,250 frontline constables and sergeants will now be eligible, according to Toronto police. The city also plans to begin administering vaccines to people experiencing homelessness in Toronto's shelter system this week. The city said on Sunday that provincial officials have updated the vaccination framework to include those experiencing homelessness as part of its Phase 1 priority for vaccinations. Coun. Joe Cressy, who chairs the Toronto Board of Health, outlined a plan on Monday to recruit 280 neighbourhood ambassadors and work with city organizations to inform residents about where to get vaccines and build trust with communities. "In short order, we will have a situation where we have supply," Cressy said. That's when the question will turn to making sure everyone who needs vaccines can get it, he added. "As Torontonians, we've all gone through too much to come up short right now. Every neighbourhood, every community agency, every resident must be a part of it." Ontario's website for booking COVID-19 vaccination appointments will begin a "soft launch" in six public health units this week, two weeks before it becomes available across the province, The Canadian Press reported on Monday. Toronto Public Health says the city will also be using the province's appointments website. Toronto remains under the stay-at-home order, which is expected to remain in place until at least Monday, March 8. De Villa also said it remains important to isolate from other people even as the weather becomes warmer. "The risk is significantly reduced outdoors," de Villa said. "That's true. But that doesn't take away from the fact that the more we are able to reduce the interaction we have with other people, particularly those outside of our household, we'll be able to reduce transmission." She said that's particularly important due to concerns about the new more transmissible variants of the novel coronavirus, such as the B117 variant first identified in the U.K.
A Kamloops golf pro who bilked his employer for more than $40,000 to fund a gambling habit will be back in court next month to address charges of breaching the conditions of his 18-month house arrest. In October 2020, Chris Power pleaded guilty in Kamloops provincial court to a dozen fraud-related charges stemming from a series of interactions he had with members while working as the head pro at Rivershore Estates and Golf Links in 2016 and 2017. According to court documents, Powers allegedly breached his conditional sentence order twice — once on Dec. 8, 2020, and again on Jan. 15, 2021. He was arrested by Kamloops RCMP on Feb. 18 and released. Power’s next court date is set for March 11 to consult legal counsel. Last October, Kamloops provincial court Judge Raymond Phillips agreed to a joint submission for an 18-month conditional sentence order for Power, which has him living under house arrest for that time period. He was also ordered to repay $40,664 to Rivershore to cover its losses stemming from his offences. Power’s scheme was unsophisticated — he would offer memberships or golf clubs for sale and pocket the cash, rather than give it to his employer. The value of the transactions ranged from $600 to more than $7,300, but Rivershore honoured all purchases — even when Power did not. Power blamed his crimes on a sports gambling addiction. At the time of his sentencing in October, court heard Power was unemployed and living on the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), but was looking for work and hadn’t gambled for in recent months. Michael Potestio, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kamloops This Week
Peel Public Health says it made a mistake in some of its information sent home to parents regarding advice for asymptomatic children sent home from school. While its website says they can isolate with a caregiver, the flyer did not. Matthew Bingley reports.
MOSCOW — Two top United Nations human rights experts urged an international probe into the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny and called Monday for his immediate release from prison. Agnès Callamard, the Special U.N. Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions and Irene Khan, the Special U.N. Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, said Navalny’s poisoning was intended to “send a clear, sinister warning that this would be the fate of anyone who would criticize and oppose the government.” “Given the inadequate response of the domestic authorities, the use of prohibited chemical weapons, and the apparent pattern of attempted targeted killings, we believe that an international investigation should be carried out as a matter of urgency in order to establish the facts and clarify all the circumstances concerning Mr. Navalny’s poisoning," they said in a statement. Navalny, the most prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, fell sick on Aug. 20 during a domestic flight in Russia and was flown while still in a coma to Berlin for treatment two days later. Labs in Germany, France and Sweden, and tests by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, established that he was exposed to a Soviet-era Novichok nerve agent. Russian authorities have denied any involvement in the poisoning. In December, Navalny released the recording of a phone call he said he made to a man he described as an alleged member of a group of officers of the Federal Security Service, or FSB, who purportedly poisoned him in August and then tried to cover it up. The FSB dismissed the recording as a fake. Callamard and Khan on Monday published their official letter sent to the Russian authorities in December and noted that “the availability of Novichok and the expertise required in handling it and in developing a novel form such as that found in Mr. Navalny’s samples could only be found within and amongst state actors.” The experts emphasized in the letter that Navalny “was under intensive government surveillance at the time of the attempted killing, making it unlikely that any third party could have administered such a banned chemical without the knowledge of the Russian authorities.” Navalny was arrested on Jan. 17 upon returning from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from the nerve agent poisoning. The arrest triggered massive protests, to which the Russian authorities responded with a sweeping crackdown. Last month, Navalny was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for violating the terms of his probation while convalescing in Germany. The sentence stems from a 2014 embezzlement conviction that Navalny has rejected as fabricated — and which the European Court of Human Rights has ruled to be unlawful. Last week, Navalny was sent to serve his prison sentence to a prison outside Moscow despite the ECHR's demand for his release, which cited concerns for his safety. Russian officials have dismissed demands from the United States and the European Union to free Navalny and stop the crackdown on his supporters. Mikhail Galperin, Russia's deputy justice minister, charged Monday that Moscow has contested the ECHR's ruling demanding Navalny's release in a letter sent to the Strasbourg-based court. Meanwhile, the UN rights experts noted that an international probe into Navalny's poisoning is “especially critical” now when he is in prison. They called for his immediate release and reminded Russia that it's “responsible for the care and protection of Mr. Navalny in prison and that it shall be held responsible for any harm that may befall him.” Vladimir Isachenkov, The Associated Press
VANCOUVER — Health officials have declared COVID-19 outbreaks at two more Metro Vancouver hospitals after finding evidence the virus was transmitted within a medicine unit at both locations. A statement from Fraser Health says the outbreaks are in single units of Surrey Memorial Hospital and Chilliwack General Hospital. One patient at Surrey Memorial and five patients at Chilliwack General have tested positive for COVID-19. Those units have been closed to admissions, but Fraser Health says other units and the emergency rooms of both hospitals remain open. Information from Vancouver Coastal Health shows a COVID-19 outbreak continues at three in-patient units on three separate floors of the highrise tower at Vancouver General Hospital. The units remain closed to admissions, transfers and visitors after COVID-19 outbreaks were confirmed on those wards, with the first outbreak reported Feb. 21. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021. The Canadian Press
TORONTO — The Weeknd's "Blinding Lights" is making Canadian history on Spotify. The Toronto-raised singer's hit single has become the first song by a Canadian artist to pass two billion plays on the streaming platform. And he's only the fourth artist in the world to join this elite group of massively popular songs. Ahead of him is "Dance Monkey" by Australia's Tones and I (2.1 billion streams), "Rockstar" by American Post Malone (2.12 billion) and the leader "Shape of You" from English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran (2.7 billion). A couple of other Canadians could also reach two billion streams with one of their songs later this year. Drake's "One Dance" is teetering around the mark with 1.98 billion streams, which ranks him one spot behind the Weeknd as the No. 5 most-streamed song. Shawn Mendes' "Senorita" is at No. 9 with 1.7 billion plays. The Weeknd's streaming numbers were helped by his performance at the Super Bowl, which gave his entire catalogue of albums a boost. But it's fellow Torontonian Drake who holds the biggest streaming crown on Spotify. He earned the platform's most-streamed artist of the decade honour at the end of 2019. Follow @dfriend on Twitter. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. David Friend, The Canadian Press
With offices closed during the pandemic and many kids kept out of the classroom, families have scrambled to carve out functional remote-learning spaces in homes that weren’t designed for the job. Faced with space constraints, acoustic challenges, and shortages of office furniture, even architects — experts in conceptualizing interior spaces with time and budget constraints — are struggling to keep up with the demands that school closures are putting on their small, open-concept homes.With flexible use of materials, strategic re-arranging, shared workspaces, multi-use surfaces, and purpose-built structures, five Toronto architects show us how they carved out space for their children to feel comfortable, productive, and even inspired as they continue to learn online:FLEXIBLE FURNISHINGWho: Kevin Bridgman, KPMB Architects, with Elke, 7Kevin Bridgman has been working at home since his office closed in March. To accommodate Elke being at home as well, he created two separate work-stations for her — one for school and one for breaks — by substituting Ikea Lisabo coffee tables for desks, which were sold out across the city. He wanted an adaptable longer-term solution — the tables, which are the perfect height to be a child’s desk now, are small, portable, and flexible enough to serve different purposes in the house when Elke no longer needs them. "The space behind me formed because Elke’s been wanting to sit with me and work when her classes are done," says Bridgman. "It used to be a nook for an electric piano, but we reconfigured the dining room and it’s become a LEGO station. Now a lot of days we sit back-to-back, so when I’m on my zoom calls or sketching at the dining room table, she’s behind me in her LEGO world." CUSTOM-BUILT SPACEWho: Lola Sheppard and Mason White, Lateral Office, with Lucas 15, and Zoe 12Lola Sheppard and Mason White added extra space to their small, open concept home with a custom designed garden studio by MacroSPACE. The fully insulated, four-season module, which arrives in pre-fabricated panels to be assembled on site, works as a study space, den, and music room, and gives teenagers a place to hang out, slightly apart from the house. The components of the $39,000 structure take about six to eight weeks to be made in a local workshop and, at under 100 square-foot, the finished structure does not require a permit. “It’s only 50 feet away, but we have to leave the house to walk to it which is really nice,” says Sheppard. RE-ARRANGING MAGICWho: Megan Cassidy, Nakamura Cassidy Design Architects, and Haji Nakamura, SVN, with Miro, 9Megan Cassidy and Haji Nakamura co-parent and share an office on the second floor. To keep up with the evolving demands of the pandemic, they have done some re-arranging magic, moving and re-purposing existing furniture to create completely different spaces. In spring, their sun-drenched dining area was first cleared out for a yoga studio, then it was converted back to a dining room. Now, it's been adapted again to a hybrid working space for Miro and family reading nook, created by rotating the dining table (where the family still eats all their meals and read in the morning sun) 45 degrees, opening up space to bring in an Eames lounger from the living room for the new lounge area."With three people working in the house, we have to make every space work really, really hard," says Cassidy.CREATING COMFORTYusef Frasier, Supergraphiq, and Kristy Almond Frasier, Almond Frasier Architect, with Naomie, 7, and Marcus, 4 With both parents already working in their compact townhome, each had to make room in their existing workspaces to accommodate one of their children. Frasier, an architectural renderer and visualization expert, shares his double-wide workstation (which is large enough to accommodate four monitors for his visually intensive work) made with two side by side CB2 Go-Cart rolling desks and TPS file cabinets. The extra wide desk makes room for Naomie to take over one of the workstations and for Marcus to join them when Almond Frasier is busy with calls downstairs. After pleading that having two screens like Dad would make her more efficient at school, Naomie recently hooked up a second monitor — one for zoom and one for work— and is slowly setting up a customized space for herself with strategically placed items on her desk and a tailored background for her zoom calls."You’re trying to create some level of comfort within an entirely new and abstract setup and each individual is finding their own way to do that," says Yusef Frasier. "Every few days Naomie draws a piece of artwork to put on this ‘wall of happiness’ that we have beside my desk. Her plan is to wrap that around the whole space like a mural." TEMPORARY FIXESAndrew and Jodi Batay-Csorba, Batay-Csorba Architects, with Kingsley, 7 and spaniel Duke Andrew and Jodi Batay-Csorba live with their son Kingsley on the second and third floor above their street-level storefront office. The couple is in the process of building a custom designed plywood platform bed for Kingsley’s room that will incorporate his bed, desk, and climbing wall, above an Ikea dresser and kitchen cabinets for storage. But for now, with the rest of Batay-Csorba’s staff working remotely, Kingsley is able to join his parents downstairs at the big studio table. In place of traditional, compartmentalized workstations, a large, shared table is a fixture of most design practices so adding Kinsgley (and even spaniel, Duke) to the table is a natural solution."Our renovated storefront is east facing with a floor-to-ceiling window so we try to work and have meetings there as much as possible because of the great light," says Andrew Batay-Csorba. "Kingsley is there with us for now trying to do everything but focus on school." — Emily Waugh is a writer and educator in Landscape Architecture and is currently completing the Certificate in Health Impact at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health. Emily Waugh, The Canadian Press