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Tamara + Noah’s DIY Marbled Paper

Tamara Robbins | posted Thursday, Apr 23rd, 2020

Quick and Easy Paper Marbling with lifestyle expert Tamara Robbins Griffith:

This is a great craft that Noah and I have done a couple of times, and I love the simplicity relative to the sophistication of final results! If you use a harder cardstock, it can be turned into really nice greeting cards, or pop the artwork into an inexpensive frame with matting and it will be sure to impress.


• Shaving cream

• Food coloring

• White cardstock or watercolor paper

• Wooden skewer, toothpick or other utensil

• Ruler or shower squeegee


1. Spray shaving cream onto a cookie sheet or similar pan with a lip.

2. Level out shaving cream with a spatula.

3. Squirt food colouring onto the surface of your shaving cream.

4. Swirl designs into your shaving cream using the wooden skewer or any other tool. Have fun and experiment here!

5. Lay your paper down on the shaving cream and pat it gently so all of paper is covered on the underside with shaving cream.

6. Gently pull off your paper and lay it down with the shaving cream side up.

7. Scrape off excess shaving cream with a metal ruler or shower squeegee and let the paper dry.

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Easing coronavirus restrictions presents challenges between provinces: experts

COLETTE DERWORIZ, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Apr 23rd, 2020

Infectious disease experts say provinces looking to relax restrictions related to coronavirus need to consider their neighbours.

Prince Edward Island, where the caseload is low, is aiming to ease measures put in place to slow the spread in late April and reopen businesses in mid-May.

The Saskatchewan government is to outline a plan Thursday for how some businesses and services could be allowed to resume next month if the number of cases stays low.

Dr. Craig Jenne, an infectious disease researcher at the University of Calgary, said easing restrictions in one province could present challenges for others.

“Many provinces in Canada have no hard borders,” he said in an interview with The Canadian Press. “Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba — we are not exactly islands where we can cut off travel between provinces.

“We are going to have to make sure we’re on the same page with this.”

As of Wednesday, Saskatchewan had recorded 326 cases, including four deaths, but less than 20 per cent of cases were considered active.

The province’s chief medical health officer has said any easing of restrictions would have to be done carefully.

Next door, in Alberta, there are more than 3,000 cases, including 66 deaths.

Dr. Stephanie Smith, an associate professor in infectious diseases at the University of Alberta, said it may make sense for provinces with a low number of cases to consider letting up on COVID measures.

“When they do that, the most important thing is that they still have an ability to identify new cases and new contact tracing,” she said. “(They need) really robust testing and tracing so that you can identify any new patients and make sure they are actually self-isolating.

“It’s important in terms of ensuring you don’t get into an uncontrolled situation again.”

Jenne added that outbreaks in High River, Alta., and several long-term care homes show how quickly a situation can change once the novel coronavirus starts spreading.

“As soon as we let our vigilance down in screening and isolation … we will see a spike back in Canadian communities, we will see an increase in cases, we will see an increase in hospitalizations and, unfortunately, we will see an increase in deaths once these hotspots start popping up.”

For example, an outbreak at Imperial Oil’s Kearl oilsands project in northeastern Alberta has been linked to cases in Saskatchewan, British Columbia, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

“This virus does not travel in the air,” said Jenne. “It travels on people and the more people move between provincial borders and even within their own community, this is how this virus gets around.”

Jenne and Smith said that’s why social distancing has been so effective in reducing the number of cases in Canada.

Each province and territory has different approaches for how to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Manitoba has set up checkstops on major highways to help inform travellers about public health measures in place.

Some jurisdictions such as New Brunswick and the northern territories have restricted non-residents from entering or require anyone who comes into the province to self-isolate for up to 14 days.

Valorie Crooks, a geographer who specializes in health services research at Simon Fraser University, said it would be difficult to control movement across provincial boundaries.

“It raises a whole lot of questions about how you enforce and what kinds of abilities you have to enforce measures you put in place,” she said.

Crooks added that it would be easier to protect populations in the North or on Canada’s islands, but it’s simply not practical to patrol every road between provinces.

Both infectious disease experts said closing the border with the United States has been an effective tool, but Jenne noted it’s not a perfect solution.

“It has to be done in concert with everything else, including high levels of screening, contract tracing and self-isolation within communities,” said the professor.

“Closing a border alone is really a false sense of security if it’s not coupled with enhanced measures.”

The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada

The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, Apr 23rd, 2020

The latest numbers of confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on April 23, 2020:

There are 40,190 confirmed and presumptive cases in Canada.

_ Quebec: 20,965 confirmed (including 1,134 deaths, 4,291 resolved)

_ Ontario: 12,245 confirmed (including 659 deaths, 6,221 resolved)

_ Alberta: 3,401 confirmed (including 66 deaths, 1,310 resolved)

_ British Columbia: 1,795 confirmed (including 90 deaths, 1,079 resolved)

_ Nova Scotia: 772 confirmed (including 12 deaths, 338 resolved)

_ Saskatchewan: 326 confirmed (including 4 deaths, 261 resolved)

_ Manitoba: 246 confirmed (including 6 deaths, 154 resolved), 11 presumptive

_ Newfoundland and Labrador: 256 confirmed (including 3 deaths, 199 resolved)

_ New Brunswick: 118 confirmed (including 104 resolved)

_ Prince Edward Island: 26 confirmed (including 24 resolved)

_ Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed

_ Yukon: 11 confirmed (including 8 resolved)

_ Northwest Territories: 5 confirmed (including 5 resolved)

_ Nunavut: No confirmed cases

_ Total: 40,190 (11 presumptive, 40,179 confirmed including 1,974 deaths, 13,994 resolved)

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 23, 2020.

The Canadian Press

Mobilizing scientists and easing COVID-19 restrictions; In The News for April 23

The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, Apr 23rd, 2020

In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what’s on the radar of our editors for the morning of April 23 …

COVID-19 in Canada …

OTTAWA — The federal government is expected to announce today new measures aimed at mobilizing the country’s scientists and researchers in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Scientists around the globe are scrambling to come up with tests, treatments to lessen the severity of the disease and, ultimately, a vaccine to protect against the coronavirus that has killed almost 2,000 Canadians and almost 200,000 people worldwide.

Today’s measures bolster previous efforts by the Trudeau government to marshal Canada’s scientific community in the battle against COVID-19.

In mid-March, it committed $275 million for research, as part of the first emergency aid package.

That was supplemented later in the month with the creation of a new strategic innovation fund, which provided another $192 million to specific companies and research institutions working on the development of drugs and vaccines.

As well, the government has provided $52 million through national granting councils to almost 100 research teams across the country.

In other Canadian news …

HALIFAX — Police say the man who went on a murderous rampage through five Nova Scotia communities was likely using unlicensed firearms, and investigators are trying find out how he obtained illegal weapons.

That probe into firearms is occurring alongside a hunt for anyone who helped the killer obtain an RCMP uniform and a replica vehicle he used to deceive his pursuers and the public as he went about killing 22 people and setting fire to homes on the weekend.

Chief Supt. Chris Leather says investigators have a fairly good idea that, in Canada at least, he didn’t have a firearms acquisition certificate.

It is illegal to own a gun without the proper licence, which federal legislation formally refers to as a possession and acquisition licence.

Leather says it’s now a key part of the investigation to understand how Gabriel Wortman obtained his weapons, as well as a police uniform and a Ford Taurus that was painted in a fashion identical to a regular RCMP patrol car.

The 51-year-old denturist, whose business was in Halifax, began his killing spree in the small community of Portapique, about 40 kilometres west of Truro, late Saturday.

Also this …

Infectious disease experts say provinces looking to relax restrictions related to COVID-19 need to consider their neighbours.

At least two provinces, Prince Edward Island and Saskatchewan, have lower case numbers and hope to ease measures put in place to control the spread in the coming weeks.

Dr. Craig Jenne, an infectious disease researcher at the University of Calgary, says easing restrictions in one province could present challenges for others.

He notes there are no hard borders between provinces, particularly in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Dr. Stephanie Smith, an associate professor in infectious diseases at the University of Alberta, says it may make sense for provinces with lower case numbers to let up on the measures.

But Smith and Jenne agree that those provinces must have robust testing and contact tracing so they can identify any new cases and prevent an outbreak.

COVID-19 in the U.S. …

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is shifting its message about the novel coronavirus.

For weeks federal officials have raised alarms about the dangers of exposure to the virus in their effort to persuade Americans to stay at home.

U.S. President Donald Trump is now aiming for a swift nationwide reopening and with that comes the challenge of convincing people it will be safe to resume their normal lives.

At the White House, officials believe they have entered a new chapter of the pandemic response, moving from crisis mode to sustained mitigation and management.

For Trump, his re-election likely rides on the pace of an economic rebound.

COVID-19 around the world …

BANGKOK — The world is inching toward a new phase in the coronavirus crisis.

Some countries like Vietnam and New Zealand have few new cases and are moving toward ending their shutdowns. Others like Singapore and Japan are tightening measures to prevent a surge in infections.

Like the U.S., many countries are moving from crisis mode to managing the next phase to prevent flare-ups.

France has started to break the seals on its locked down nursing homes, allowing limited visitation rights for the families of the residents.

The visits are shedding light on the immense emotional toll caused by locking down care homes.

French President Emmanuel Macron has taken notice, retweeted a painful-to-watch interview with a 96-year-old nursing home resident complaining tearfully about being stuck in her room, deprived of daily visits.

In his tweet, Macron wrote: “Madame, your pain overwhelms us all.”

COVID-19 in entertainment …

TORONTO — Live concerts are cancelled in most parts of the country for the foreseeable future, yet Ticketmaster and other Canadian ticket portals have continued to sell access to upcoming events that aren’t happening.

Several dozen concerts, including a DJ set with Andrew Rayel originally slated for Friday at Toronto’s Toybox Nightclub, were still available on Ticketweb, a portal owned by Ticketmaster, until after the company was contacted by The Canadian Press on Wednesday.

And concerts once booked throughout May at the PNE Forum in Vancouver were listed by non-profit retailer Ticketleader until the company responded to inquiries on why they were still up for sale.

Those PNE shows, which included a Kaytranada concert previously scheduled for May 9, have now been marked “postponed” by Ticketleader until an undetermined new date.

A representative for Ticketmaster did not respond to requests for comment about shows listed on Ticketweb, and its reseller platform Stubhub.

Shelley Frost, president of Ticketleader, which is owned by Pacific National Exhibition, said the company is working with concert promoters to reschedule dates, including the Kaytranada show. She said that’s why Ticketleader continued to make the events available to purchase, even though there was no certainty when — or if — they would go forward.

COVID-19 in sports …

A 99-year-old Second World War veteran who has raised more than 28 million pounds for Britain’s health service during the coronavirus pandemic has been invited to perform one of British sport’s quaintest traditions once the crisis is over.

Tom Moore will get the chance to ring the famous bell at Lord’s cricket ground, signalling the start of a day’s play, as a reward for his fundraising efforts that have become a national rallying point. The job is typically given to former cricketers or figures in the sport.

The offer was made to Moore, a cricket fan, by England captain Joe Root — a fellow Yorkshireman.

“I’d love you to give us a team talk at some point as well,” Root said in a video conversation with Moore, “and get all the lads in the right frame of mind.”

With the aid of a walking frame, Moore walked 100 laps of his garden in eastern England to support workers in Britain’s National Health Service.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 23, 2020.

The Canadian Press

What does ‘reaching the peak’ in the coronavirus pandemic mean?

MICHELLE MCQUIGGE, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Apr 22nd, 2020

The latest round of government projections related to the coronavirus pandemic includes an increasingly common phrase — reaching the peak. But what exactly does that mean? Some experts weigh in:

What does it mean to reach a peak in a pandemic?

Infectious disease and statistical modelling specialists say to reach the peak in a pandemic curve means that the number of new cases has begun to level off rather than continuing on a sharp upward trajectory. Such a scenario is playing out this week in Ontario, where public health officials said the province was experiencing the peak of the outbreak in the broader community despite registering some sharp single-day spikes in the number of new cases. The peak has not yet arrived in the province’s long-term care system, where roughly half of all cases and deaths have occurred.

“Peaks are not a single day,” said Steini Brown, dean of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, as he presented the province’s latest projections on Monday. “They’re not a nice single sort of spike. They can be a little bit bumpy, they can be prolonged for a period of time, particularly given public health interventions.”

Brown said pandemic curves are usually symmetrical in nature — a sharp increase of cases is followed by the plateau or peak, which then gives way to a decline in new diagnoses.


Where in Canada is that actually happening?

While Ontario may be experiencing the peak of community transmission right now, several provinces are already ahead of the game. Public health officials in British Columbia said last week that they had succeeded in flattening the curve, meaning they’re past the peak of new COVID-19 cases. Provinces and territories such as Manitoba, Saskatchewan and the Yukon are posting single-digit increases each day, while New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador have gone several days in a row without any new cases at all.

Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, has said the national curve is bending but has yet to flatten. Those figures are still fuelled by data out of Quebec and Ontario, the epicentres of the national outbreak. The premier of Quebec, which has recorded more than 20,100 of Canada’s roughly 38,000 cases, has said the peak has lightly been reached outside of the province’s hard-hit long-term care homes.


This is all good news, right?

Yes and no. Dr. Isaac Bogoch, infectious diseases physician and scientist with the Toronto General Hospital, says it’s very encouraging to see the rate of new infections begin to level off. But he says peak times also promise to place the maximum strain on the health-care system, as cases continue to mount at a pace not seen during earlier stages of the outbreak.

Jianhong Wu, distinguished research professor of mathematics at York University, said other risks come with pandemic peaks.

“At these times, the level of infections is highest,” he said. “The number of cases is not necessarily the number of infections.”

Wu noted that disparity is even more evident in parts of the country with lower testing levels, noting those provinces with higher capacity will also uncover more cases.

During a peak period, he said, Canadians stand a higher chance of contracting the virus.


Does this mean normal life can resume soon?

No. Both Wu and Bogoch said physical distancing measures are more important than ever during peak times in order to ensure the number of cases begins to decline as expected.

“Imagine you’re in a car and you put your foot on the gas and are driving faster and faster,” Bogoch said. “When you get onto the highway and you’re going 100 kilometres an hour, that’s not the time to open the door and jump out of the car. You have to actually slow down.”


What are the most useful stats to keep an eye on?

The many facts and figures presented in government briefings are all valuable in tracking Canada’s response to COVID-19, according to both Bogoch and Wu. But for a member of the public wanting only to focus on the highlights, they agree tracking the growth rate of cases over time should provide an adequate snapshot. Both caution against focusing on single-day stats and suggest looking at the overall trend to see if cases are climbing, peaking or declining over time.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 22, 2020.

Michelle McQuigge, The Canadian Press

Gatherings restricted, schools closed: What’s being done to fight COVID-19

The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Apr 22nd, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every province and territory. Canada’s chief public health officer and her provincial counterparts are encouraging people to wash their hands, give each other space and wear a mask if they are sick or a homemade one if they believe they could have been exposed to the virus and are not showing any symptoms.

Ottawa has put money into health-care research and the economy. It has also put restrictions on international travel and is mandating 14-day quarantines for travellers returning to Canada to try to limit spread of the novel coronavirus.

The border with the U.S. has been closed to all non-essential traffic.

Classes are suspended or cancelled at schools throughout the country.

Each province and territory also has its own emergency measures to detect cases and prevent spread of the virus.

Here’s a look at some of the ways different jurisdictions are responding:

British Columbia

B.C. declared a provincial state of emergency on March 18, a day after announcing a public health emergency, and it has been extended to April 28.

The measure gives the province authority to take any action necessary to protect people and communities, including charging people who ignore public health orders.

The province has also prohibited reselling essential supplies such as food and cleaning material.

The B.C. government has announced steps to improve health-care services that include bringing in 55 new ambulances, five more fixed-wing planes or helicopters and housing options that will help people self-isolate in their home communities.

The government said its also bringing in new and faster virus testing technology — taking less than 45 minutes to complete — in an attempt to quickly stop the spread of the virus.

On April 19, B.C. police and enforcement officers start issuing $2,000 tickets for price gouging and reselling essential supplies during the state of emergency.

All parking fees at B.C. hospitals have been cancelled during the pandemic to ensure safer access for patients and staff.

Officials have prohibited gatherings of more than 50 people in one place, including restaurants, schools, places of worship, theatres, casinos, sports arenas and outdoor venues.

That has forced the cancellation of the annual TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival in June.

All provincial parks are also closed.

The Vancouver park board says cars are being banned from most roads in Stanley Park to give cyclists, walkers and joggers more room.

Officials have also issued fire restrictions as the wildfire season begins.


Alberta declared a public health emergency on March 17.

The province has given law enforcement agencies full authority to enforce orders and issue fines for violations.

There are restrictions on mass gatherings of more than 15 people, both indoors and outdoors at places of worship, weddings or funerals. Any gathering must allow people to keep the two-metre distance from others.

All non-essential businesses have been ordered closed, including personal service providers, clothing stores and furniture stores.

Albertans are prohibited from attending public or private recreational and entertainment facilities. Restaurants have been ordered closed, except for takeout or delivery. Casinos are closed.

Vehicle access to provincial parks and public lands is prohibited to visitors.

Albertans who have been ordered to quarantine cannot leave their property for 14 days. And if they live in apartment buildings they are not allowed to use the elevators.

There’s also a new restriction on visitors at nursing homes, long-term care facilities and hospitals — although exceptions could be made if a child is in hospital or a woman is about to give birth.

On April 13, the province expanded its eligibility for COVID-19 testing to anyone with symptoms of the illness. Testing can be done for anyone who has a fever, cough, runny nose, shortness of breath or a sore throat.


Premier Scott Moe declared a provincial state of emergency on March 18.

It directs all orders from the chief medical health officer be followed and gives police the authority to enforce them.

Public gatherings are limited to no more than 10 people.

Nightclubs, bars and lounges are closed, but they are allowed to provide takeout food or alcohol.

Recreational and entertainment facilities are closed. Personal service providers such as tattoists, hairdressers, estheticians and relaxation masseuses cannot operate.

Dental, optometrist, chiropractic and podiatry clinics are closed — except for emergencies.

Saskatchewan has updated its public health orders to say long-term and personal care homes should ensure staff only work at one facility.

All employees at long-term care facilities are having their temperatures checked and are being monitored for COVID-19.

Health officials say there’s no evidence livestock or pets can be infected with or transmit COVID-19, but it hasn’t been ruled out. They suggest anyone with the virus avoid contact with animals, as well as people, until more information is available.

The Saskatchewan government is promising one-time emergency bursaries to post-secondary students whose studies and jobs have been affected the pandemic.


The Manitoba government declared a provincewide state of emergency on March 20 and has extended it until May 17.

The province has limited public gatherings to no more than 10 people.

That includes any indoor or outdoor spot, places of worship or family events such as weddings and funerals.

No visitors are allowed in long-term care facilities and hospitals, though exceptions may be made in hospitals for compassionate reasons.

Public events marking the province’s 150th birthday have been postponed and the long running Dauphin Countryfest is cancelled this year.

The province is instituting fines for people who don’t follow public safety orders during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Non-essential travel to the province’s north and to remote communities is being restricted to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

There are some exceptions, including for people who travel for medical care or work, people who share child custody, and people who deliver goods and services.

Non-essential businesses have been ordered to close. Salons, spas, bars and other establishments were closed as of April 1. Restaurants can remain open for takeout or delivery only.

The closures do not affect health-care facilities, government services and other institutions.

Bingo and gaming venues as well as wellness centres and gyms are closed.

The province is letting people hurt by the COVID-19 economic fallout avoid penalties and interest on some utility payments and property taxes. There’s also a freeze on all rent increases until at least May 31.

Employers across the province will also get a refund on their workers’ compensation premiums to help them handle the economic fallout from COVID-19. Premier Brian Pallister said employers will get a credit equal to 20 per cent of last year’s premiums, worth a total of $37 million in May.


Ontario has extended its state of emergency for another 28 days.

The order closes non-essential businesses and child-care centres until May 12.

Premier Doug Ford says Ontario’s schools will not re-open on May 4.

All business except those deemed essential have been shut down.

The province will allow curbside pick up and delivery of cannabis.

All industrial construction except for essential projects, such as hospitals, has been halted.

All bars and restaurants, except for takeout and delivery, have been closed.

Also closed are recreational facilities, public libraries, private schools, licensed child-care centres, movie theatres and concert venues.

Any public events of more than five people, including parades, events and services at places of worship, are prohibited, and provincial parks are closed.

The City of Toronto has also closed playgrounds, sports fields, off-leash dog parks, skateboard parks and picnic areas. Parking lots attached to parks are closed.

The province says it will also quadruple COVID-19 testing capacity to 16,000 by May 6.

On April 17,  the province expanded eligibility for free emergency child care to include workers in developmental services, victim services, violence against women services, children’s aid societies, probation and parole officers and staff in homeless shelters. The program was initially set up for health-care workers, first responders and correctional officers.


Quebec declared a public health emergency on March 13 and renewed it a week later.

The government has reduced non-priority services and prohibited indoor and outdoor gatherings.

All festivals, sporting and cultural events scheduled for this summer are cancelled or postponed.

Tennis Canada says the Rogers Cup women’s tennis tournament scheduled for Aug. 7 to 16 in Montreal will return to the city in August 2021.

Police set up checkpoints curtailing access to eight remote regions. All non-essential travel to much of cottage country north of Montreal, and to Charlevoix, northeast of Quebec City is also banned.

Quebec has prohibited non-essential visits to hospitals, residential and long-term care centres or between children in foster families and their biological families.

Designated clinics have been opened for anyone displaying COVID-19 symptoms.

To give retail employees a break, stores are closed on Sundays in April, with only pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores and takeout restaurants remaining open on those days.

Montreal’s mayor has also declared a state of emergency to help authorities better manage the spread of COVID-19 among the city’s homeless.

On April 18, 125 military personnel with medical expertise geared up to deploy to long-term care homes in the Montreal area after Premier Francois Legault asked Ottawa for assistance. The homes have been especially hard hit by the pandemic.

A few days later, Quebec delayed all non-urgent activities in hospitals until the beginning of May to allow more medical professionals to work full time in long-term care homes.

New Brunswick

A state of emergency was declared in New Brunswick on March 19.

Businesses serving food and beverages have been restricted to takeout and delivery. Lounges and clubs are forbidden from allowing customers to enter.

Customers are not allowed to enter retail businesses, unless they serve food, medication, fuel or other essential supplies.

Many health services — such as chiropractors, dentists and optometrists — are prohibited from seeing patients in person unless absolutely necessary.

No gatherings larger than 10 people are allowed and residents are urged to stay home as much as possible. They are also asked to delay non-essential errands.

Any unnecessary travel into New Brunswick is prohibited.

All playgrounds in the province are closed, but some public parks and walking trails remain open as long as physical distancing measures are followed.

Nova Scotia

The province of Nova Scotia declared a state of emergency on March 22 and it has been extended to April 19.

It set out a 14-day rule for self-isolation and self-quarantine for people returning from outside Canada.

All schools and daycares are closed. Long-term care facilities and care homes are closed to visitors.

Casinos have closed and no business is allowed to operate a video lottery terminal.

Restaurants are restricted to takeout and delivery service only. Drinking establishments are closed.

There are also restrictions on health professionals such as chiropractors and dentists.

Two mobile assessment centres have been established to do community-based testing.

Prince Edward Island

Premier Dennis King declared a public health emergency on March 16.

It included an order to Islanders to refrain from attending any public gatherings and a closure of libraries, child-care facilities, gyms and schools.

Hospitals have restricted visitors — although one visitor is allowed at a time to see patients in palliative care, intensive care, neonatal intensive care, obstetric and pediatric units.

All long-term care facilities continue to fully restrict visitors.

Measures also include fines for anyone who doesn’t comply with a direction to self-isolate.

The public health officer recommends people who are self-isolating stay on their own property when outside.

The government is working to open an out-patient clinic to allow for increased testing and to ease the load on hospitals.

Officials have also deferred provincial property tax and fee payments until the end of the year.

Newfoundland and Labrador

The province declared a public health emergency on March 18.

It includes the closure of most businesses — with the exception of grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations and other stores considered essential.

Gatherings of more than 10 people are not allowed. That includes funerals and weddings.

Anyone arriving from outside the province is required to self-isolate for 14 days.

Health officials have the authority to restrict the rights and freedoms of people in a time of crisis. People who violate orders face fines.


Yukon declared a state of emergency on March 27.

The government has placed enforcement officers at the Whitehorse airport and at its boundaries to get details of travellers’ self-isolation plans, their contact information and to look for any symptoms of COVID-19.

Yukon residents flying into Canada with COVID-19 symptoms must quarantine at their arrival destination, and those without symptoms are ordered to self-isolate for 14 days when they get home.

Yukon has asked everyone arriving in the territory, including mine workers, to self-isolate for 14 days.

Yukon beefed up its border control measure on April 17, giving enforcement officers the authority to deny non-essential travellers from entering.

The government has closed bars and limited social gatherings to 10 people or less.

Recreation facilities, libraries, museums and visitor centres are closed.

Long-term care facilities are closed to visitors and volunteers, while all non-urgent or routine services, including lab tests, X-rays, physiotherapy and occupational therapy are suspended.

All dentists must also suspend non-urgent treatment until further notice.

Northwest Territories

The Northwest Territories declared a public health emergency on March 18, which has now been upgraded to a state of emergency.

It requires anyone who arrives in the territory from outside its boundary to self-isolate for 14 days.

Travel through all points of entry into the territory — both air and road — is prohibited.

The orders exclude essential service workers such as medical professionals or emergency services.

The territory has asked that all indoor and outdoor gatherings be cancelled — regardless of size or number.

Many businesses, including tour operators, gyms, museums and theatres, have been ordered to close.

The government has said it will help Indigenous families who want to head out on the land as an alternative to physical distancing. It will provide a $2.6-million grant to help families buy the proper gear and supplies to head out to fishing and hunting camps.


Nunavut declared a public health emergency on March 20.

It has no known cases of COVID-19, but it has restrictions in place.

There is a mandatory 14-day self-isolation period at one of four locations in southern Canada for any resident that wants to return to Nunavut.

Critical employees who need to return to work must apply for an exemption.

All non-essential medical travel has been cancelled.

Public gatherings, including at playgrounds or parks and at religious, cultural or spiritual services is prohibited.

School staff in Iqaluit are working to ensure students in the capital of Nunavut don’t go hungry because of closed classrooms. They’re continuing to provide breakfasts to children in a way that follows physical distancing rules.

Sources: Provincial and territorial government websites

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 22, 2020

The Canadian Press

Federal support for students and kids’ vaccines; In The News for April 22

The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Apr 22nd, 2020

In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what’s on the radar of our editors for the morning of April 22 …

COVID-19 in Canada …

OTTAWA — The federal government is expected to announce today more significant financial support for students and other young Canadians struggling to stay afloat and find jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new measures are intended to target support at young people who have fallen through the cracks of other emergency financial assistance.

Some students, for instance, have complained that they don’t qualify for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

It provides $500 a week for up to 16 weeks to Canadians who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic and had an income of at least $5,000 in the previous 12 months — criteria that doesn’t apply to many students.

Today’s measures are in addition to some steps the federal government has already taken to specifically help young people weather the health crisis.

It has put a six-month, interest-free moratorium on student loan repayments.

It has also bolstered the Canada Summer Jobs program in a bid to encourage employers to hire young workers for essential jobs.

In other Canadian news …

HALIFAX — As family and friends try to figure out how to mourn their loved ones in the aftermath of Sunday’s rampage in Nova Scotia, more questions are emerging about the way police issued warnings during the killings.

The RCMP provided Twitter updates with the active shooter on the loose.

However, no public agency issued an emergency alert that automatically pops up on all smart phones and televisions — even though the provincial alert system had recently been used to advise people to maintain physical distancing because of COVID-19.

Premier Stephen McNeil has said the system wasn’t used because no request was received at the Emergency Management Office from the RCMP.

Last night, McNeil acknowledged more could have been done, telling CTV Atlantic that he wished the details could have been communicated with more agencies in hindsight.

At least 22 people died because of the shooter.

Also this …

TORONTO — Pediatricians are urging parents to maintain their children’s vaccination schedule amid the COVID-19 scare.

They’re worried a dip in inoculation rates could jeopardize herd immunity for a host of other ailments.

Doctor Shaun Morris, staff physician in infectious diseases at Toronto’s SickKids Hospital, says many children and young people are almost certainly behind on their shots as some families avoid medical facilities for fear of catching COVID-19.

At the same time, he notes that opportunities to inoculate have dwindled as family clinics scale down hours, switch to virtual care or shutter their offices completely.

Meanwhile, school-based immunization clinics have been postponed indefinitely along with the school closures.

A spokeswoman for the Canadian Paediatric Society says school and daycare closures remove one of the most powerful motivators parents have to keep their kids up-to-date.

COVID-19 in the U.S. …

WASHINGTON — Congress is sprinting to approve a $483 billion coronavirus aid package.

The deal backed by the White House would replenish a small-business payroll fund and pump more money into hospitals and testing programs.

U.S. President Donald Trump is urging swift passage this week.

The bill is Washington’s fourth in response to the crisis, but it’s not expected to be the last.

Lawmakers are taking unprecedented steps to confront the virus and prop up communities nationwide during the health crisis.

The Senate approved the package Tuesday. The House is asking lawmakers to return for a Thursday vote.

COVID-19 around the world …

There are over 70 million people worldwide who have been driven from their homes by war and unrest. Up to 10 million are packed into refugee camps and informal settlements.

Almost none have been tested for the coronavirus.

In Syria’s war-ravaged Idlib, there’s only one small health facility to receive suspected cases.

In Bangladesh, aid workers are racing to build isolation facilities in the world’s largest refugee camp.

In two camps in Kenya, Somalis who survived decades of famine and war fear the worst is yet to come.

With little testing in camps, the virus can spread unchecked until people start showing symptoms. An outbreak would be catastrophic — and could prolong the pandemic.

COVID-19 and grocery-store employees …

DELTA, B.C. — Grocery-store employees are recognized as essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, but experts say the virus has highlighted their low pay and lack of protections.

Rafael Gomez, with the Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources at University of Toronto, says unionized employees make more, but there’s pressure from big-box stores to keep the wages lower.

Sobeys, which operates FreshCo and other stores including IGA and Thrifty Foods, is among employers including Loblaw that are offering the temporary extra pay.

Sobeys spokeswoman Jacquelin Weatherbee says all employees are also receiving a bonus of $50 a week as part of their essential work.

While employees are now behind plexiglass shields at checkouts, Paul Meinema, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers union, says masks, gloves and face shields are also needed to protect other workers.

He says one of the union’s biggest concerns is the number of customers allowed into the stores a one time, leaving too many customers in aisles as employees stock shelves.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 22, 2020.

The Canadian Press

Rise in homeless tent cities, encampments linked to health confidence: advocate

The Canadian Press | posted Tuesday, Apr 21st, 2020

VANCOUER, B.C. — Public health officials need to do more to help Canada’s homeless population as encampments and tent cities grow across the country during the COVID-19 pandemic, an advocate says.

The comments come as B.C. cities struggle to find adequate solutions to look after their homeless populations.

Fourteen people were arrested Sunday over allegations they broke in to Lord Strathcona Elementary, a school on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

A group calling itself the Red Braid Alliance was part of the protest over what its members said was a plan to highlight a demand for housing.

Alliance member Listen Chen said she wasn’t hopeful that the city would address the homeless problem.

“The city and the province both have the emergency powers to requisition every single empty hotel room in the city and to shelter people,” she said.

“The city of Vancouver is negotiating with individual landlords to open up units, but I don’t expect hotel landlords are lining up to open their rooms to a stigmatized population.”

Those arrested, ranging from young adults to seniors, face charges of break and enter, Sgt. Aaron Roed with the Vancouver Police Department said.

The growth of such tent cities are a natural occurrence when homeless residents feel unsafe about their living conditions, and the COVID-19 pandemic has heightened those feelings, said Tim Richter, the president of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness.

“If they don’t want squats, if they don’t want expanded rise in encampments then there needs to be a much better and safer response to homelessness today,” Richter said in an interview. “The necessary protections that public health is recommending for every other Canadian need to be in place for people experiencing homelessness.”

Victoria has requested the provincial government requisition its empty hotels to house its homeless population while in Vancouver, a camp at Oppenheimer Park has swelled to nearly 100 people with nearby residents concerned about violence they say is occurring in the park.

Homeless populations have different health risk factors than other citizens, such as underlying respiratory concerns and poor health, Richter said, adding that increases the possibility of an outbreak sweeping through the sites.

“The fact we have so many people at great risk of this disease for no other reason than lack of a home and access to adequate health care tells you we’ve got a pressing housing emergency in our country,” said Richter.

B.C.’s provincial health officer said she is aware of those concerns.

“We have two emergencies that we’re dealing with,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, during a media briefing Monday. “The one, our overdose crises, has been compounded in many ways particularly for those who are homeless and under-housed, people who have substance use disorders, it has been compounded by the restrictions we’ve put in place to deal with the pandemic.”

The province announced a cross-ministerial team last week, headed up by Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction Shane Simpson, aimed at finding housing solutions.

Simpson called for patience when asked about the group’s concerns.

“I understand the urgency, frustration and barriers that people experiencing homelessness are facing right now. We are working to increase supports and will have more to say in the coming days. That being said, I cannot condone breaking the law and occupying a school at any time,” he said in a statement.

Both Henry and Simpson said they expect an announcement on housing to be made within the next few days.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 21, 2020.

The Canadian Press

More COVID-19 supports and hospitals band together ; In The News for April 21

The Canadian Press | posted Tuesday, Apr 21st, 2020

In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what’s on the radar of our editors for the morning of April 21 …

COVID-19 in Canada …

OTTAWA — The federal government is expected to unveil today more financial support for vulnerable Canadians struggling to weather the COVID-19 pandemic.

Poor, disabled, homeless and seniors are among those who have been particularly hard hit by the health, social and economic ravages of the deadly virus as Canadians abide by orders to keep physical distance from one another and all but essential businesses are shut down.

Today’s measures are on top of previously announced moves to provide financial support to the homeless, women’s shelters, children’s counselling and local organizations that provide practical support to seniors, such as delivering groceries or medication.

The government is also expected to provide more details today about the timing and roll-out of the massive $73-billion wage subsidy program.

Among other things, the government is expected to provide details to businesses on how to apply for the subsidy.

In other Canadian news …

HALIFAX — The death toll from a killing rampage in Nova Scotia could rise today.

Nineteen people were confirmed dead as of yesterday following Sunday’s tragedy, but police expect the number of victims to go up.

Police say the 16 crime scenes include five burned buildings where it is feared additional bodies will be found inside.

RCMP Chief Supt. Chris Leather said he expects the number of victims to increase in the days ahead.

The murder and arson rampage finally ended when active shooter Gabriel Wortman was shot dead Sunday by RCMP officers in Enfield, N.S., next to the gas pumps at a service station.

Also this …

TORONTO — Hospitals facing urgent COVID-19 needs are banding together to close funding “gaps” for their institutions and embattled health-care workers.

Dubbed “The Frontline Fund,” the national campaign seeks donations on behalf of more than 100 institutions across the country for supplies, staff support and research.

Organizers say the money would help hospitals source personal protective equipment and ventilators, fund drug trials and vaccine research, and provide mental-health support to exhausted staff.

Ten per cent of funds will also go towards the northern territories and Indigenous health.

Steering committee member Caroline Riseboro, also CEO of Trillium Health Partners Foundation, says COVID-19 has raised unique needs that “wouldn’t necessarily be addressed through government funding.”

Examples of how the money could be spent include extra scrubs so caregivers can change their clothes before going home, or hotel rooms for front-line staff with immune-compromised relatives so they don’t have to fear bringing the virus home with them.

Organizers say $8.5 million has already been promised by lead corporate partners.

That includes five million dollars from the Canadian Medical Association Foundation, $2.5 million from Maple Leaf Foods and $1 million from TD Bank Group.

Riseboro says the goal is to raise $50 million. Canadians can donate at www.frontlinefund.ca.

COVID-19 in the U.S. …

WASHINGTON — Both Republican and Democratic governors say the White House must do more to help states carry out the coronavirus testing that’s needed before they can ease up on stay-at-home orders.

The governors pushed back Monday on U.S. President Donald Trump’s assertion that Democrats are playing what he called “a very dangerous political game” by insisting there is a shortage of tests for coronavirus.

Supply shortages have stymied U.S. testing for weeks. The needs range from basic supplies like swabs and protective gear to highly specialized laboratory chemicals for analyzing patient results.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration and congressional leaders are insisting a final deal is in reach on an aid package for small businesses that could exceed $450 billion, but both sides have been struggling for days to push an agreement across the finish line.

As small businesses suffer from a coronavirus-impaired economy, Trump says he hopes to see a Senate vote later today.

Most of the funding would go to replenish a payroll loan program that’s out of money.

Trump is also saying that he will sign an executive order “to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States” because of COVID-19.

He is offering no details on what he is referring to and the White House did not immediately elaborate on Trump’s tweeted announcement.

COVID-19 around the world …

BANGKOK — The World Health Organization said today that rushing to ease coronavirus restrictions will likely lead to a resurgence of the illness, a warning that comes as governments start rolling out plans to get their economies up and running again.

“This is not the time to be lax. Instead, we need to ready ourselves for a new way of living for the foreseeable future,” said Dr. Takeshi Kasai, the WHO regional director for the Western Pacific.

He said governments must remain vigilant to stop the spread of the virus and the lifting of lockdowns and other social distancing measures must be done gradually and strike the right balance between keeping people healthy and allowing economies to function.

Step-by-step reopenings were underway in Europe, where the crisis has begun to ebb in places such as Italy, Spain and Germany.

Australia said today that it will allow the resumption of non-urgent surgeries from next week as health authorities grow more confident that hospitals there won’t be overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients.

The reopenings come as politicians grow weary of soaring unemployment numbers and the prospect of economic depression. Asian shares followed Wall Street lower today after U.S. oil futures plunged below zero because of a worldwide glut as factories, automobiles and airplanes sit idled.

In other international news …

SEOUL — The South Korean government says Kim Jong Un appears to be handling North Korea’s affairs as usual after rumoured surgery.

The presidential Blue House says it had no information about the rumours on Kim’s health.

Speculation often surfaces about North Korea’s leadership based on attendance at important state events.  Kim missed the celebration of his late grandfather Kim Il Sung on April 15, the country’s most important holiday.

His last public appearance was at a political meeting April 11 and state media reported he sent messages and gifts more recently.

A U.S. official said the White House was aware before the reports appeared late Monday that Kim’s health might be precarious. The official said the U.S. had information that Kim may have undergone surgery and that complications may have rendered him “incapacitated or worse.”

But, the official stressed that the U.S. had nothing to confirm the surgery had taken place or that any complications had occurred.

The U.S. official, who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, would not elaborate on where the information came from or when it had been received. The White House and State Department had no comment.

COVID-19 and Ramadan …

This week is usually when kids in the Muslim community get excited about an annual trip to see the full moon that marks the start of Ramadan.

But Cindy Jadayel, a member of the Mosque of Mercy in Ottawa, says it will be one of many community events that will be cancelled during Ramadan this year.

The month of Ramadan, in which Muslims go without food or drink from sunrise to sunset every day, often features gatherings where families and friends break fast and pray together.

It’s set to start on Thursday based on the Islamic lunar calendar, and will last until May 23.

The moon sighting trip follows an early tradition where religious leaders would declare the start of the new month when a full moon was spotted. Those events, as well as nightly congregational prayers and community events at the mosque, will be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jadayel says not having the community aspect of Ramadan this year is going to be challenging.

She says people will have to work harder this year to have families happier in the home because we can’t go out and celebrate with others.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 21, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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