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Questions raised about role of specialists in some regional centres for education during pandemic

Inclusive education specialists in some regional centres for education have taken on new tasks during the start of an unprecedented school year in Nova Scotia, raising the eyebrows of some parents and advocates in the province.In the Annapolis Valley (AVRCE) and Halifax Regional (HRCE) centres for education, and Conseil scolaire acadien provincial (CSAP), some specialists — such as occupational therapists and speech-language pathologists — have temporarily assumed various classroom support roles in addition to their full-time work as specialists.“Specialists continue to provide support to students, however we have temporarily expanded their mandate,” wrote CSAP communications co-ordinator Cathy Simon.“A significant portion of the specialists are providing direct classroom support while mai...

CERB replacement programs may get tweaks as coronavirus pandemic continues, minister says

OTTAWA — The federal minister overseeing key aid programs for workers during the pandemic says there could still be changes to a proposed package of income-support benefits as the country faces renewed pressure from COVID-19.As it stands, the package includes caregiver payments for anyone who can’t go to work because their child’s school or daycare is closed, or the child has to be kept home as a precaution.To get the help after the fact, workers would have to show they could not work at least 60 per cent of their usual hours, or about three days out of a five-day work week.Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough says she’s heard that eligibility criteria might be too restrictive for parents who have to take off a day or two to wait in hours-long lines for COVID-19 tests. Story continues belo...

Nova Scotia eases COVID-19 regulations for organized activities

The province announced Friday it is increasing the number of people allowed to participate in organized physical activities like performing arts and sports.On Oct. 1, the number of people allowed to participate in an activity without physical distancing will increase to 50 from 10.“Art and sport are vital to our physical, mental and social well-being. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has put some of these activities on hold,” said Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief of health, in a press release.The province says this change will allow full team practices and competition to resume for most sports.For performing arts, this may mean larger rehearsals and performances. 0:22 HFX Wanderers fans gather to watch game for the first time this season HFX Wanderers fans gather to watch game for the first time ...

New Brunswick reports no new COVID-19 cases, changes Quebec border rules

New Brunswick is reporting no new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday and says there are two active cases in the province.A release from Premier Blaine Higgs’ office says in order keep New Brunswick safe and slow the spread of the virus, changes to travel restrictions at Quebec border have been made.Effective Thursday, residents of the Témiscouata Municipal Regional County in Quebec will not be allowed to enter New Brunswick province for day trips.“With the rise of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Bas-Saint-Laurent region of Quebec, we must be prudent and keep doing our part,” said Higgs in the release.The release says residents can still cross the border for essential travel and medical reasons such as appointments, or approved work and shared child custody. Story continues below advertis...

Coronavirus: Loblaws confirms COVID-19 case at Fortinos near Lime Ridge Mall

Loblaw Companies Inc. has confirmed that a staffer at the Fortino’s near Lime Ridge Mall on the Mountain has tested positive in a “presumptive test” for COVID-19.The employer said it received word from the affected worker last Friday. The staff member last worked at the 65 Mall Rd. location on Sept. 5.A spokesperson for the company says it has also “taken a number of steps to minimize risk including increased sanitization protocols and enforcing social distancing practices in the store.”In late August, Loblaw Companies Inc. confirmed two staffers at a Fortino’s in Ancaster and a No Frills on the Mountain had tested positive, and in May the grocer revealed a positive case at the Dundurn Street location. Story continues below advertisement Hamilton reports eight new COVID-19 casesHamilton pu...

No more warnings: Ottawa bylaw to start ticketing mask violations

Ottawa bylaw officers will now be handing out fines, not warnings, to any individual or business flaunting the city’s indoor mask requirements amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.Ottawa’s bylaw department tweeted Thursday that the “warning phase” is ending for the city’s temporary mask rules, first set in mid-July and recently expanded to at least the end of October.Anyone who refuses to wear a mask in an indoor public setting will now be subject to a possible $240 fine, and any operator found to not comply with the mask requirements could face a $490 fine.⚠️The warning phase for the Temporary Mandatory Mask By-law is ending. Officers will continue to exercise discretion, but tickets will be issued in cases where a warning is not deemed sufficient or when repeat offenders are encountered.h...

Bars vs. schools? WHO says countries must choose, but it’s not cut and dried

As coronavirus cases grow again in Canada, policymakers are toying with how to control the spread.Bars and schools have become flashpoints for outbreaks and, according to the World Health Organization, it may mean countries need to make a choice between the two in order to lower the risks.“What is more important? Are children back at school? Are the nightclubs and bars open?” Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s health emergencies program, said Tuesday. “I think these are the decisions that we have to make coming into the winter months.”But experts say it’s not so cut and dried.“We’d be foolish not to acknowledge that bars are certainly associated with outbreaks when they’re left to function unchecked,” said Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease specialist based out of Toronto Gene...

‘They were supposed to keep her safe,’ says family of long-term care resident who died of COVID-19

It was a Monday night in late April when Lisa Politakis got the call that her mother, a former resident at a Barrie, Ont., long-term care home, had tested positive for the novel coronavirus.Politakis was playing cards with her husband and kids at home when the doctor told her that her mother, Joan Kantor, was asymptomatic with COVID-19 and that a number of other residents had also tested positive for the virus.“You know when they say you get that gut feeling? I’ll tell you I broke down bad that night because I knew — something just told me,” Politakis said.After Kantor’s family learned of her coronavirus diagnosis, an almost three-week battle ensued, which eventually led to Kantor passing away on the morning of May 16 at age 75.  Story continues below advertisement Kantor was staying at Ow...

Campers who attended mass gathering in B.C. asked to self-monitor for coronavirus symptoms

Interior Health is asking campers who attended a recent mass gathering in B.C.’s Southern Interior to self-monitor for coronavirus symptoms despite no confirmed cases.In a press release issued Wednesday morning, the health agency says approximately 150 participants attended a group camping event at Bombi Summit in the West Kootenay region, between Castlegar and Salmo, Sept. 12-13.“In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, when we learn that people have participated in large gatherings, IH urges participants to self-monitor for COVID symptoms and get testing should they develop,” said Interior Health.“We know COVID-19 is circulating throughout the Interior Health region. While there was no confirmed case known to be in attendance at the camping event, the possibility of COVID-19 exposure is ...

London’s COVID-19 assessment centres prioritizing patients in wake of massive lineups

After several days of lengthy line-ups and one day after London’s COVID-19 assessment centres reached capacity well before their closing times, the Middlesex-London Health Unit is announcing some changes.The assessment centres at Oakridge Arena and Carling Heights Optimist Centre had been generally operating on a “first come, first served” basis, but officials will now be “prioritizing patients with symptoms, those who require testing for medical procedures and contacts of a case.”“(Starting) today, assessment centres in London are going to stop testing people who don’t have symptoms and don’t have exposure,” said medical officer of health Dr. Chris Mackie.“So that will really shift the volume of tests and hopefully, as people get to understand that, you’ll see less lineups.” Story continu...

Calgary Canucks continue training camps with future of AJHL season still unknown

Things may not look the same at school, in the stands, or even on the bench, but for the Calgary Canucks, there’s a comforting sense of normalcy in being back on the ice.“It’s just kind of a relief,” forward Jesse Carr said. “We didn’t really know where the season was going to be at during the spring and summer with COVID.”Under Alberta’s Stage 2 relaunch guidelines, the AJHL is not eligible to start playing games.Instead, the league is holding a development season — essentially holding extended training camps to help the teams prepare for an eventual return-to-play.“As anxious as we all are to return to competition and embrace our communities, public safety and the safety of our athletes has to be the priority,” AJHL Commissioner Ryan Bartoshyk said in a statement. Story continues below a...

Waterloo Region reports 7 new coronavirus cases, new outbreak

Waterloo Region reported seven new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, bringing the total number of cases to 1,538.No one has newly recovered from COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, since Tuesday as the number of resolved cases remained at 1,343.The death toll of 120 remains unchanged as well.This means that the number of active cases is now up to 75, however, no one is fighting the disease in hospital.A second outbreak has been declared, but where it is will remain a mystery because it appears to be in a smaller congregate setting, which public health will not name due to privacy reasons. Story continues below advertisement The region defines congregate settings as group homes and community-supported living settings, along with disability-specific congregate settings. It doesn’t revea...

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