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A look at some of the Canadians who have lost their lives to COVID 19

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Apr 15th, 2020

COVID-19 has sickened thousands of Canadians from coast to coast and killed hundreds.

Here are the stories of some of those who have lost their lives:

Vicki Kap

SARNIA, Ont. — Vicki Kap was known for her love of family, which for her included former refugees she invited into her home for decades before she died from COVID-19.

Jody Brouwer, Kap’s daughter, remembers growing up with a Cambodian couple and their two children living in their basement.

Vicki and Frank Kap opened their hearts and their home to people from around the globe, including Nicaragua, El Salvador and Syria before her death at age 75.

“We’ve got a big extended family from all countries of the world,” Brouwer says.

The woman known for her big smile spent the last four years caring for Frank, who has stage-four bowel cancer and is waiting to go into hospice while grieving for his wife.

The couple would have celebrated their 54th wedding anniversary on March 26, when Kap was on a ventilator. She died three days later.

Family was the focus on her last day, too, as she lay in a medically induced coma.

Brouwer and her brother John Kap were at their mother’s bedside wearing head-to-toe personal protective equipment. Her children shared stories with Kap and videos of her grandchildren.

Martin Postma

STRATHROY, Ont. — Martin Postma’s wife considers the last month with her husband before his death a gift as they spent time enjoying the sights of Portugal.

Mieke Postma says her 74-year-old husband had diabetes but was in otherwise good health before he developed a cough, had the chills and quickly became increasingly weak.

At that point, he barely had enough energy to make it onto the stretcher when an ambulance arrived to take him to their local hospital in Strathroy before he was transferred the next day to University Hospital in nearby London.

Postma was surprised her husband even had the energy to phone her from the emergency department to say doctors were planning to put him on a ventilator.

But she says that last conversation, before his death on March 27 in the intensive care unit, was also a gift from the man she’d married 52 years earlier.

A retired nurse, Postma says she considered the quality-of-life her husband would have had if he had survived as his kidneys shut down on a ventilator and his other organs also began to fail.

Just before the family decided to discontinue treatment on the ventilator, Postma was told her husband’s survival rate would be about 10 per cent, and if he did survive, he would need lifelong care.

“That hit me between the eyes. I thought, ‘That’s not good.’ “

Noble (Butch) Gullacher

REGINA — Noble Gullacher was a family man who loved watching his sons play basketball and his grandchildren play soccer.

Gullacher, known by family and friends as Butch, was a diabetic who was waiting for a kidney transplant when he was diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 19.

The 69-year-old died April 10 in a Regina hospital.

Gullacher was a husband, a father to two sons and a grandfather to their three children.

“He was a good dad, but he was a really wonderful grandfather,” said his wife, Kathleen Gullacher. “He loved his family.”

She said they are a close-knit family which regularly gathers for Sunday night dinners.

Gullacher also loved race cars and trap shooting.

“He liked to be active,” she said. “He loved to be out and doing things.”

Gullacher was retired after being a conductor with CP Rail for 35 years.

Deb Diemer

CALGARY — Mike and Deb Diemer were expecting 2020 to be the best year of their lives.

Then, on March 19 Deb Diemer was diagnosed with COVID-19. She died on March 30.

“My in-laws have lost a daughter, my sisters-in-law have lost a sister, I’ve lost a wife and my daughter has lost her mom,” Diemer said.

Doctors had always followed his wife’s health closely after she was diagnosed with primary pulmonary hypertension in 1986.

Diemer said she was able to keep the disease in check with medication until late 2001. She was able to get a double-lung transplant months later in 2002.

About six weeks before her death she got a kidney transplant with a donation from her older sister, Kathy Ziegler.

Diemer said his wife only experienced mild COVID-19 symptoms and her doctors recommended she stay home to recover, since she wasn’t having difficulty breathing and could speak in full sentences.

But she deteriorated quickly and went into medical distress at home, he said. Doctors later told him that she had died within hours of the virus attacking her heart.

“My wife is an Irish redhead and she never backed down from a fight,” Diemer said.

“Every time, she didn’t complain. She just faced whatever she had to face and kept going. We thought she was going to beat COVID-19, too.”

Wade Kidd

WINNIPEG — Wade Kidd had an absolute love for life.

His family said in a statement that Kidd started developing flu-like symptoms on March 18 and was admitted to hospital on March 27 where his condition deteriorated quickly.

The grandfather, father and husband died on April 2, about a month before his 55th birthday.

Kidd had some underlying health concerns, however, in general he was healthy and active, his family said.

He could fix anything and enjoyed camping. He was a loving husband and proud father to his two sons. His love for his two young grandchildren knew no bounds, his family said.

“His monster hugs made us feel safe and his easygoing manner kept us calm in stressful times,” his wife wrote.

Kidd was a private person, but the family wanted to share his story. His family said they hope it will convince everyone to stay home so further families don’t have endure what they are facing, mourning without the ability to have a funeral.

“He was a steady ship in a crazy storm, and now he is gone. Now that storm threatens to swallow us whole.”

Shawn Auger

HIGH PRAIRIE, Alta. — Shawn Auger, a father of three, died March 30 at the age of 34.

His wife, Jennifer Auger, says her husband started developing symptoms on March 13 and was diagnosed on March 16. He was hospitalized shortly after and died March 30.

She says he was particularly affected because by the disease he was asthmatic.

“He was also a big guy, like a teddy bear,” she says.

Shawn Auger was involved in youth hockey and worked at the Youth Assessment Centre in High Prairie, Alta., about 370 kilometres northwest of Edmonton. His wife says a position was created especially for him to help youth transition out of the facility.

“That job, he loved it,” she said. “He loved it because he got to meet new people, talk to the youth and mean something to them.”

She says her husband first went to school to become a police officer and served in various placements, including at the Edmonton Institution, before he decided to work with young people.

“He wanted to work with the youth … to make a difference, so they didn’t end up in jail or anything like that.”

She says she and her husband recently bought a house in the High Prairie area to renovate and turn into a group home.

It’s something she plans to continue in his memory.

“Through all this, we did not lose Shawn,” she says. “We gained a fighting, caring, wonderful angel … and he is still working from beyond.”

Alice Grove

NORTH BATTLEFORD, Sask. — Alice Grove was a 75-year-old widow who lived alone on a farm in west-central Saskatchewan.

Her sister Eleanor Widdowson says Grove, a former nurse’s aide at Saskatchewan Hospital, was having breathing difficulties and collapsed in her home on March 28. She died in hospital the next day.

The sisters last saw each other on March 13 when they met for coffee in nearby North Battleford.

Widdowson believes her sister contracted the virus on one of her many trips into the city.

“We had warned her and warned her and warned her to stay at home,” Widdowson told Saskatoon radio station CKOM. “But she’d get lonely. Anyone would, living out on a farm by themselves.”

Grove’s battle with COVID-19 was hampered by diabetes, says Widdowson. Grove had also survived a battle with cancer.

Ultimately, Widdowson says she made the decision to remove Grove from life support.

“You have to be sensible about it and not take treatment away from a possible 35-year-old that can get better, when you know the 75-year-old lady’s not going to get better.”

Dr. Denis Vincent

NORTH VANCOUVER, B.C. — Dr. Denis Vincent is being remembered as a dedicated dentist who made patient care and safety his top priority.

Vincent was 64 when he died on March 22 after attending the Pacific Dental Conference, which drew about 15,000 people.

Family lawyer Bettyanne Brownlee says Vincent was diligent in adhering to recommended practices for infection control throughout his more than 40-year career. He was quarantining himself when he died.

She says Vincent cared deeply about people, had a great sense of humour, and his two great loves were skiing and sailing with friends and family.

“He was enormously proud of his sons, who will keep their memories close as they come to terms with the absence of their father from their adult lives,” Brownlee says.

Mariette Tremblay

MONTREAL — Mariette Tremblay’s granddaughter says her 82-year-old grandmother was a caring woman who was loved by all.

In the Facebook post, Bibianne Lavallee says her grandmother had suffered from respiratory problems and, when the virus struck, she was vulnerable. Her death was reported by Quebec health authorities on March 18.

Lavallee says Tremblay took ill before Quebec began taking exceptional measures to combat the spread of the virus.

“Unfortunately, by the time all of the measures were announced and taken, it was too late to spare my grandmother,” Lavallee says. “When her diagnosis was announced, she was already doomed.”

Lavallee urges people to follow recommendations of public health officials.

“We didn’t have a chance to save Grandma. But you have the chance to make a difference now that we know; now that we know the damage caused by this pandemic,” she says.

“Everything must be done to prevent human tragedies like the one we are experiencing from continuing to multiply. We want the death of my grandmother, the first victim in Quebec of COVID-19, to help save lives.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 9, 2020.


The Canadian Press

The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Apr 15th, 2020

The latest numbers of confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4 a.m. on April 15, 2020:

There are 27,063 confirmed and presumptive cases in Canada.

_ Quebec: 14,248 confirmed (including 435 deaths, 2,146 resolved)

_ Ontario: 7,953 confirmed (including 334 deaths, 3,568 resolved)

_ Alberta: 1,870 confirmed (including 48 deaths, 914 resolved)

_ British Columbia: 1,517 confirmed (including 72 deaths, 942 resolved)

_ Nova Scotia: 517 confirmed (including 3 deaths, 124 resolved)

_ Saskatchewan: 301 confirmed (including 4 deaths, 187 resolved)

_ Manitoba: 229 confirmed (including 4 deaths, 99 resolved), 17 presumptive

_ Newfoundland and Labrador: 244 confirmed (including 3 deaths, 149 resolved)

_ New Brunswick: 116 confirmed (including 75 resolved)

_ Prince Edward Island: 25 confirmed (including 23 resolved)

_ Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed

_ Yukon: 8 confirmed (including 6 resolved)

_ Northwest Territories: 5 confirmed (including 2 resolved)

_ Nunavut: No confirmed cases

_ Total: 27,063 (17 presumptive, 27,046 confirmed including 903 deaths, 8,235 resolved)

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 15, 2020.

The Canadian Press

Second World War commemorations become casualty of COVID-19 pandemic

LEE BERTHIAUME, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Apr 14th, 2020

OTTAWA — Donald White was shaving when his friend ran in excitedly to tell his unit the news: The war was over.

The evening of May 8, 1945, White and his fellow Royal Canadian Dragoons were parked at a bivouac about 30 kilometres from the German port city of Wilhelmshaven. Canada had been at war with Nazi Germany for nearly six years. And now his friend was saying that the BBC was reporting on the wireless radio in their Staghound armoured car that the war was over?

“We thought he was just pulling our legs,” the now-95-year-old White recalls in an interview from his home in Oshawa, Ont. “I was shaving and I was going to drown him in the shaving water for being a smartass. It was maybe five minutes later the officer came in and informed us.”

White was supposed to have been in the Netherlands this week, a guest of honour in a commemoration of the Dragoons’ role in liberating the Dutch city of Leeuwarden exactly 75 years ago on April 15. The trip was to be first of two to the Netherlands, the second planned for early next month to mark Canada’s role in liberating the country.

Instead, White is home in suburban Toronto. Having already devastated lives and livelihoods around the world, COVID-19 is also affecting remembrance efforts by forcing the cancellations of key commemorative events such as the 75th anniversaries of the Liberation of the Netherlands and Victory in Europe Day, when Nazi Germany surrendered to the Allies.

“I feel disappointed like everybody,” White said. “We planned for it and looked forward to it and I think probably my biggest disappointment was not only the celebrations, but I’ve gotten to know people over there. It’s like going to meet old friends.”

The federal government was planning to send a large delegation of veterans, family members, current military members and students to the Netherlands for 10 days at the start of May for the two commemorations, but those have since been postponed indefinitely. Other commemorations such as for the Battle of the Atlantic have also been put on hold or cancelled for this year.

“The well-being of veterans and staff is of utmost importance,” Veterans Affairs Canada said in a recent statement. “In line with advice about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) from various health and safety authorities, the government of Canada will not be sending a delegation overseas and will not be hosting commemorative ceremonies in the Netherlands as planned.”

The Department of National Defence sent out its own message this month to active service personnel who were preparing to head to the Netherlands for the events to stand down and focus on preparing to respond to calls for help for COVID-19, a natural disaster or both at once.

The First Canadian Army was responsible for clearing the Netherlands of German forces in the final weeks of the war. The effort is largely overshadowed in Canada by D-Day and other major Second World War battles, but more than 1,300 Canadians were killed and 4,300 were wounded during weeks of grinding fighting as the Germans were pushed back.

In the process, the Canadians saved up to a million Dutch from starvation and sickness, says historian Mark Zuehlke, who wrote a book entitled “On to Victory: The Canadian Liberation of the Netherlands, March 23-May 5, 1945,” and the Canadians earned the Netherlands’ undying gratitude.

The European country has sent tulips — 1.1 million last year — to Canada each year since the war and hosted parades to honour the Canadians who were there. The country has also typically played host to Canada during V-E Day commemorations, which was followed by the surrender of Japan in August 1945, formally ending the Second World War. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was expected to attend this year’s event.

White has previously met Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Princess Margriet, who was born in Ottawa in 1943 where the Dutch royal family was staying in exile, at previous commemorations in the Netherlands. This year, his three children were planning to attend with him. Veterans Affairs is still planning to send a delegation of veterans to the Netherlands once the pandemic passes. But when that will be is anyone’s guess.

“How does anybody plan anything until we know when we’re going to be able to deal with this problem we have right now, this infection?” White said.

Zuehlke was working with Veterans Affairs Canada to organize several tours of the Netherlands for Canadians during the commemorations before they were cancelled and said he expects the events to be postponed to next year. Some of the elderly veterans who had planned to go this year won’t be able to make it.

Still, despite his disappointment at not going, White could also see some similarities in how a crisis — whether a world war or a pandemic — can engender faith while bringing a country and society together to face it.

“It’s terrible what’s going on and we’re being inconvenienced and that, but I think we gotta do what we’re told we’re supposed to do, hoping for the best,” he said. “And that’s probably like we did during the war. We hoped for the best, right?”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 14, 2020.

Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press

Canadians want serious progress on COVID 19 before returning to work: poll

LAURA OSMAN THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Apr 14th, 2020

OTTAWA — Most Canadians want to see significant progress in the fight against COVID-19 before they would feel comfortable with people being allowed to return to work, a new poll suggests.

The poll says 29 per cent of Canadians believe restrictions on workplace and leisure activities should only be lifted once the country is free of any new cases for at least two weeks.

One-quarter of respondents said they would want to see only sporadic cases being discovered before such restrictions are lifted, and assurance there is no pressure on the health system.

Just over 20 per cent think Canadians should continue to physically isolate and stay away from work until there is a vaccine to protect against the virus.

The poll, conducted by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies between April 9 and 12, surveyed 1,508 adult Canadians and 1,012 adult Americans randomly recruited from its online panel. The internet-based survey cannot be assigned a margin of error because online polls are not considered random samples.

“We wanted to look at that aspect because we’re now in that phase where people are starting to reconsider when are we going back to normal,” said Christian Bourque, executive vice-president of Leger.

“They seem to be favouring the mid- to long-term more than the short-term,” he said.

Recently released federal projections show that it could be mid-summer, or even late summer, before the first wave of Canada’s epidemic is over, and that is the best-case scenario.

As for a vaccine, that is likely still many months away.

Canadians seem highly dedicated to obeying the rules set out by public health, as 98 per cent of the poll respondents said they abide by social distancing.

Until current restrictions are lifted, 40 per cent say they would report someone whose is not obeying public health rules, with the largest number of would-be snitches in the Atlantic provinces, at 50 per cent, and Quebec, at 48 per cent.

“It’s as if Canadians are saying, not that we’re comfortable … but that we feel it’s the right thing for now and maybe a few weeks more” Bourque said.

Those results show a serious departure from Canada’s neighbours to the south, where 46 per cent say they would not report rule-breakers to the authorities.

The United States has become the new worldwide epicentre of the COVID-19 outbreak, and has now reported more deaths than any other country.

But attitudes there about physical distancing and public health measures appear more lax than in Canada, according to the poll results.

Pollsters offered a list of public health measures, including staying two meters away from others, and only going out for necessities.

They found the rate of non-compliance with at least one of those measures in the U.S. was 46 per cent, compared to 26 per cent in Canada.

“It probably explains in part why we’re doing so much better than our southern neighbour,” Bourque said.

Sixty-five per cent of Canadians polled were fearful about the impact our southern neighbours could have on the pandemic here.

Americans are decidedly less worried about how the Canadian epidemic is playing out, with only 19 per cent concerned that it will impact their country.

People in the states also appear far less satisfied with measures put in place by President Donald Trump, with only 44 per cent in support. In Canada, the federal government is enjoying 76 per cent support for the measures it’s institutes to right the virus.

Bourque said Canadians’ trust in institutions appears to be helping in Canada.

On Monday, Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said Canada’s epidemic curve is starting to show positive signs, as the growth of cases begins to slow down.

It is also helping Canada’s Liberal party, which is enjoying growing support for its response to the pandemic, he said.

The pollsters asked who respondents would vote for if an election was held today, compared to responses from January 22, before the COVID-19 crisis hit Canada.

Opposition parties have seen a slight decline in support among decided voters, whereas Liberal support has climbed to 39 per cent from 31 per cent earlier this year.

‘A lifeboat in the ocean:’ Nurses on life inside a downtown Vancouver hospital

AMY SMART, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Apr 14th, 2020

VANCOUVER — As a registered nurse in the emergency department at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, Zoe Manarangi Bake-Paterson wonders whether she’ll be the same after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.

There’s palpable stress in the department, she says, as she and her colleagues prepare for a surge of cases that may or may not arrive.

“It feels like we’re in a lifeboat in the ocean waiting for the tsunami to arrive,” Manarangi Bake-Paterson says.

“I just wonder how this will change me or change my co-workers in our practice or in our personal lives, because I think it’s a lot that’s going to come our way. I just wonder, when we come through the other side, how different will we be?”

St. Paul’s has long been at the forefront of treating Vancouver’s most vulnerable.

In the 1980s, it was one of the few treatment centres for HIV-positive patients in British Columbia.  Today, many of its patients are residents of the Downtown Eastside, which has been the epicentre of an overdose crisis.

More than a dozen health workers at the hospital agreed to be interviewed by The Canadian Press and described how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting them and their work.

They shared feelings of uncertainty, fear, hopefulness and solidarity.

Even if B.C. is successful at slowing COVID-19’s spread, several nurses say they are bracing for a possible outbreak in the Downtown Eastside where so many are homeless and physical distancing is a challenge.

The hospital is closed to anyone except patients and staff now.

Beds have been vacated and triage has been overhauled so that patients with respiratory symptoms can be isolated immediately.

Staff receive updated directions — sometimes hourly — as new evidence about the outbreak emerges. They rehearse urgent intubations after their shifts and adjust to working in zero pressure rooms.

Potential COVID-19 cases appear in the emergency department in many different ways.

“It kind of looks like pneumonia. They’re short of breath, usually pretty high fevers and they tend to deteriorate pretty quickly, the people who are really not doing well,” says registered nurse Duncan McTavish.

Other patients seem OK, so it’s hard to tell, he says.

In some ways, the novel coronavirus is like a phantom in the emergency department.

Staff don’t typically find out if a patient has COVID-19 after taking swabs. Patients may be sent home with instructions to manage their symptoms or be in intensive care by the time the test results come in.

The spectre that anyone could carry the virus has changed the way nurses think about everything they do.

“Every single action I take I have to think about,” McTavish says. “What kind of mask I need and if I enter the room, swab this person, leave again — I have to make sure I’ve changed my gloves and washed my hands between every single step.

“We do that all the time, but certainly the awareness of that right now is really heightened.”

Nurses wear goggles, suffocating surgical masks and other gear all through their shifts.

“People have been joking about how their skin is already feeling abrasions because of this constant friction with the masks,” says Manarangi Bake-Paterson.

Registered nurse Rachel Mrdeza says she had never really thought about the gear she wears as protection, but now she’s keenly aware that it’s her shield.

Feelings in the hospital swing like a pendulum, she says.

On one side, staff are worried for patients and loved ones. On the other, they’re uplifted by the roaring cheers for health workers that ripple through the city at the same time every night and by the donations of food and other supplies that have been dropped off.

“At those times it feels so incredibly joyous to experience that,” Mrdeza says.

There’s also a feeling of unity among staff.

“Even in the masks where you can’t see people’s smiles and glasses are fogged up and … there is this physical disconnect, it feels like we’re in this together,” Manarangi Bake-Paterson says.

Many have had to make personal sacrifices or have had tough conversations with their families about what would happen if they got sick.

Registered nurse Leah Ventura says she waved hello outside her parents’ window the other day because she couldn’t go in.

Amanda Hickey, a clinical nurse leader, says her mother recently moved to a care home and Hickey hasn’t been able to see her in more than a month.

“That’s been really tough.”

Registered nurse Maria Alonzo says her heart sank when she woke up one day with a body ache, fever and dry throat. One of the physicians she works with contracted the coronavirus and she’s in contact with potential cases every day.

As a single mom who lives with her 73-year-old mother, Alonzo had trouble expressing the relief she felt when she tested negative.

“I actually cried when I got my result,” she says. “Every time I go to work my fear is 200 per cent, because I always think of my son, my mom who lives with me. What would happen if I got sick?”

Still, Alonzo says she’ll continue to work every day alongside thousands of other health workers.

In many ways, the emergency department nurses’ jobs haven’t changed at all. They are still responsible for providing the best care they can and they have a system in place to do so.

Registered nurse Erica Wong urges everyone to keep following public health protocols that will give nurses the best chance at success.

“So far we’re doing OK, but that can change any second. Just continue to be cautiously optimistic. We are all in this together,” she said.

“We just need to keep going.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 14, 2020

Amy Smart, The Canadian Press

Federal officials to provide COVID-19 update focused on seniors, foreign workers

Kyle Mack | posted Monday, Apr 13th, 2020

Federal officials are due to provide an update Monday on measures for seniors, home care and temporary foreign workers during the COVID-19 crisis.

The Prime Minister’s Office says the news will come from public health officials and cabinet ministers — not Justin Trudeau, who’s taking the day off from public appearances.

The expected update comes after a weekend that saw Quebec’s premier rebuke a long-term care home where 31 residents have died in less than a month.

Francois Legault says there was “gross negligence” at Residence Herron, where five of the deaths are definitively linked to COVID-19.

Authorities first inspected Residence Herron on March 29, three days after word of the first death, and found the residence “deserted” as staff had walked off the job.

The province’s coroner will investigate, as will police.

Numerous other long-term care homes across the country are experiencing outbreaks of the novel coronavirus, including Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon, Ont., which has seen 29 of its residents die in recent weeks.

And on Saturday, Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet raised concern about temporary foreign workers arriving in Canada to work on farms.

The federal government has exempted migrant workers from COVID-19 travel restrictions because of their importance to the economy. Officials have said they’ll face health screening before travelling to Canada and will isolate for 14 days once they get here.

But Blanchet says he believes those rules don’t go far enough.

Why some ignore coronavirus distancing rules: a psychologist weighs in

Kyle Mack | posted Monday, Apr 13th, 2020

Despite coronavirus shutdowns and public health appeals to stay home, Toronto’s parks have remained busy. The city says it’s still having the same conversation every day with hundreds of people who are not taking physical distancing seriously. But that comes as no surprise to Dr. Rehman Abdulrehman.

“What we’re asking people to do is a very large task,” says Abdulrehman, a clinical and consulting psychologist based in Winnipeg. “We’re not just staying indoors, we’re cutting out every single element that makes us human, that ties us to one another.”

While Toronto’s normally busting, now empty and eerily quiet streets show us that behaviours can change. Our new COVID-19 reality also makes it glaringly apparent we have simply never experienced anything like this before.

“That uncertainty can both make people increasingly anxious or increasingly complacent,” Abdulrehman says.

You can still go for a walk through the city’s parks. But amenities like playgrounds and park benches are off-limits. And from officials, the message remains: if you are going out, you’re supposed to keep at least two metres away from anyone you don’t live with. It’s the kind of close contact the city is trying to eliminate to reduce the chances of spreading the virus.

Getting caught breaking those rules could cost you up to $1,000. But with no frame of reference for this pandemic, our new normal becomes harder to enforce.

“The whole uncertainty of not knowing what we’re dealing with is really contributing to that,” says Abdulrehman. “Add to that…public health messages take a while to enforce.”

Take for instance smoking rates in Canada. Approximately half of Canadians smoked in 1965 according to the University of Waterloo, compared to about 15 per cent in 2017. Driving down those rates has taken years of messaging from public health experts. “We don’t have that luxury of time,” Abdulrehman says.

Bylaw officers have handed out more than one hundred tickets since April 4, all involving people mingling in groups and in closed areas.

“It makes sense that people are having a hard time with it. The dilemma is where people might take a complacent point of view that this is not going to impact them.” Abdulrehman suggests changing that point of view may take more than a fine.

“One of the things we could do is be very clear and very specific. If we’re not interpreting things in the correct way,” he says, “it’s definitely going to impact our emotions which will impact our behavioural choices.”

Health Canada approves Ottawa company’s rapid COVID-19 test kits

Kyle Mack | posted Monday, Apr 13th, 2020

A rapid, portable testing device for COVID-19 developed by an Ottawa company has received approval from Health Canada.

The device, which was developed by Spartan Bioscience, is a handheld DNA analyzer that allows hospitals and other institutions to independently test patients and receive results without having to send the samples away to a provincial or national lab.

The device comes with its own test cartridges and proprietary swabs, which are manufactured in Ottawa.

The test can be administered by “non-laboratory personnel” in places such as airports, border crossings, doctors’ offices, pharmacies, clinics, and remote communities.

In a release, the company said the tests can now be shipped to “Spartan’s federal and provincial government partners starting immediately.”

“We are grateful to the Government of Canada for working closely with us to expedite the review and approval process,” Paul Lem, CEO of Spartan Bioscience, said in a release.

“We are ready to start shipping our portable COVID-19 test to the federal and provincial governments, and to make them widely available to Canadians.”

A worldwide shortage of medical swabs has slowed down the traditional testing, which is especially being felt in Ontario. Until recently, the province has had the lowest testing rate for COVID-19 in Canada.

Julia Grieve’s DIY Egg Dyeing + Butter Tart Recipes

Julia Grieve | posted Friday, Apr 10th, 2020

No-Waste Eggs:

You can dye these hardboiled eggs, and they’ll keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. If you’re using them as decorations, don’t leave them out of the fridge longer than 2 hours.

MIX: Litre of water + 2 tablespoons of white vinegar

Dye with Beets (pink)

boil a litre of water with 2 table spoons of white vinegar

4 cups chopped beets

Let simmer for 30 mins, then strain, let mixture cool and place eggs in mixture for 30 mins, or longer for deeper tones

Dye with Cabbage (light blue)

Boil litre of water with 2 tablespoons of white vinegar

Add 3 cups of purple or red cabbage and simmer for 30 mins, let mixture cool and add eggs

Allow eggs to soak overnight (in the fridge) for the brightest blue

Dye with Tumeric (yellow)

Boil litre of water with 2 tablespoons of white vinegar

Add 3 tablespoons of turmeric, let simmer for 30 minutes. Let mixture cool and add eggs. Let it soak until the desired colour is reached.

Julia and Mimi’s Plant-Based Butter Tarts:

Plant-based meets patriotic with this Canadian classic. Rich, flaky, perfectly sweet – a dozen may not be enough.

12 tarts

Prep Time: 20 minutes Chill Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes Stand Time: 2 minutes

375 mL 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 mL 1/4 tsp. salt

125 mL 4 oz plus 2 Tbsp. Becel® unsalted plant-based bricks, divided

45 mL 3 Tbsp. iced water

10 mL 2 tsp. white vinegar, divided

125 mL 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

60 mL 1/4 cup corn syrup

30 mL 2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup

1 egg

5 mL 1 tsp. vanilla extract

125 mL 1/2 cup chopped pecans


Preheat oven to 400°F (205°C). Grease 12 nonstick muffin cups; set aside. Combine flour with salt in medium bowl.

Cut in Becel® with pastry blender or fingertips, just until large crumbs begin to form.

Whisk water with 1 tsp. (5 mL) vinegar. Add just enough water mixture to flour mixture to form dough, while stirring flour mixture with fork.

Shape into a ball, then cover with plastic wrap; flatten dough into a disc.

Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

Whisk brown sugar, corn syrup, maple syrup, egg, remaining 2 Tbsp. (30 mL) melted Becel, vanilla and remaining tsp (5 mL) vinegar.

Roll dough on lightly floured surface about 0.5 cm thick. Cut out 12 (4-in/10 cm) circles, using a lightly floured glass or circle cutter. Press circles into prepared muffin cups.

Fill cups evenly with pecans, then brown sugar mixture. Bake 10 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 375°F (190°C). Bake an additional 10 minutes or until deep golden.

Let stand in pan 2 minutes, then remove to wire rack and cool completely.

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