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Siksika residents face COVID-19 discrimination after outbreak, Alberta's top doctor says

Siksika residents face COVID-19 discrimination after outbreak, Alberta's top doctor saysAlberta's chief medical officer of health says she was disappointed to hear some Siksika First Nation members are being turned away from local businesses, reminding Albertans that COVID-19 does not discriminate.During her daily news briefing on Tuesday, Dr. Deena Hinshaw said now is the time for compassion, not division."I have received reports that some Siksika First Nation members were recently denied access to local businesses as a result of recent cases being reported in their community," Hinshaw said."This is not the first time that we've heard such reports around COVID-19. I know that Albertans of Chinese or other ethnic heritage and some religious groups have also at times been singled out and discriminated against."Hinshaw said Siksika leadership have acted quickly, transparently and proactively to control spread of the virus."When the result of that prompt and transparent action is stigma against their members, it sends a message against transparency and risks discouraging people from being tested or co-operating with public health," she said. "The members of the Siksika Nation deserve better than that. All Albertans of every heritage deserve better than that."Hinshaw was also asked about recent COVID-19 infection spikes in Saskatchewan and B.C, and took the opportunity to urge people not to single out specific groups.Hinshaw was asked about a spike in infections involving Saskatchewan Hutterite colonies."It is critical that we not single out any one particular segment of society but rather understand that we all need to be working together to follow the public health guidance to stop transmission."Two deaths from COVID-19 were reported Tuesday, both in the Edmonton region: a woman in her 90s, linked to Misericordia Hospital outbreak, and a woman in her 80s, linked to the Good Samaritan Southgate Care Centre.

Marketing Kelowna as a tourism hot spot moves forward, despite recent COVID-19 cases

Marketing Kelowna as a tourism hot spot moves forward, despite recent COVID-19 casesTourism operators throughout B.C., have been struggling amid a global pandemic that has forced many travellers to cancel trips, and a COVID-19 exposure event in B.C.'s Interior doesn't help. Health officials said on Sunday eight people who visited Kelowna's downtown and waterfront from June 25 to July 6 had tested positive for the virus, six of them from out of town.In an emailed statement to local media, Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran said that since the province has not implemented travel restrictions between provinces, tourists will come to the area."Dr. Henry has asked that people coming to our communities from outside regions use their "travel manners" and respect the physical distancing rules and proper hygiene orders," Basran said. "If people don't do that, the risk of COVID transmission is going to increase, so everyone needs to continue to take this health risk seriously and take the necessary precautions."In advance of the tourism season, he said the city helped local businesses comply with public health orders, which included making the main road in downtown Kelowna pedestrian to allow for safe physical distancing.He also said bylaw enforcement and RCMP bike patrols have been visiting parks and beaches to talk to folks about physical distancing.Tourism Kelowna has already been struggling this summer; in fact, the organization had requested money from the City of Kelowna, and although city staff recommended siphoning that money from a budget meant for affordable housing, the motion to do so was defeated.Director of Marketing and Communications Chris Shauf said the request came because revenue is down, primarily because hotels pay a municipal and regional district tax and since many hotels struggled through the spring, the tax they paid was significantly less."Travel simply wasn't happening," Shauf said. "But what we needed to do was refocus and recalibrate our efforts to help local businesses survive and persevere through that time and that was really focusing on what we could do to connect consumers with businesses locally."Although travel between provinces is allowed, Shauf said the organization is focused on marketing within British Columbia. Part of the decision to keep marketing local and not open up to Alberta was based on surveys sent to residents in early June asking their comfort level with welcoming tourists to the city.According to Shauf, more than half of the respondents were comfortable with people visiting from out of town."What we heard in that survey was that there is an understanding that tourism fuels our local economy and is an important contributor to our economy and jobs," Shauf said. Regardless of the recent exposure event in Kelowna, Shauf said the plan to market Kelowna as an appealing destination will move forward. "We make wise marketing decisions that are based on research," he said."This year was different though. The plan has been put together but we are adjusting it as needed. And it's also important to note that recovery is not something that happens overnight or in a week or even in a season. We expect that the tourism industry is going to take years to get back to levels that we [normally] receive."

COVID-19 situation in the U.S. 'scary' and 'dangerous,' Canadian long-haul truckers warn

COVID-19 situation in the U.S. 'scary' and 'dangerous,' Canadian long-haul truckers warnSome Ontario truck drivers are speaking out about what they've been witnessing on their trips to the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic — and they're warning the Canadian government to keep the border closed to non-essential visitors."They're travelling down there. They don't wear masks," said Leanne Steeves, a long-haul truck driver from Barrie, Ont., referring to the attitude of many Americans to the pandemic."It's like they don't care. Life is normal. Nothing's changed for them."On Tuesday, CBC News confirmed the Canada-U.S. border closure for non-essential travel will be extended for another 30 days into late August. The agreement, which has to be reviewed each month, was set to expire on July 21. The decision comes as novel coronavirus cases and hospitalizations spike in several large U. S. states with little sign of a coordinated response from President Donald Trump's administration.By contrast, Canada has largely succeeded in limiting the spread of the virus in the last several weeks, with daily case counts, hospitalizations and deaths mostly on the decline. That's why Steeves would like the federal government to take it even further and keep the border closed until the new year. She and her husband Gerald, cross the border transporting goods to California every week. She said that from what she's been seeing south of the border, proper pandemic measures are not being taken and she worries about what could happen to Canada if Americans were allowed to visit.'I'm praying they don't open the borders'"It's scary," she said."I'm praying they don't open the borders. That would just make everything up here that much worse ... They need to protect our country."And she's not alone in her fears.Jeff Henderson, a long haul truck driver from Shannonville, Ont., recently posted a video on social media describing his own experiences in the United States. The video has been viewed by thousands of people on Facebook.He spoke about seeing people turned away at an urgent care centre in Texas because they couldn't afford a COVID-19 test. And he echoed what Steeves said about how many people aren't wearing masks or physical distancing."Nobody cares, and it's dangerous — very dangerous," he said."If Canada opens those borders ... You're going to see a spike like you've never seen before."In the last few months, Henderson has travelled to New York, Massachusetts, Ohio, and most recently in late June, Texas, a state that's experiencing a huge spike in COVID-19 cases. "I just couldn't believe, everyone's standing outside. Everyone is congregating like nothing is happening."He'd also like to see the border closed until the new year. Surge in U.S. casesIn addition to Texas, California and Florida are seeing major surges in novel coronavirus cases. The United States is the worst-affected country in terms of infections and leads the world in COVID-19 deaths, with more than 136,000, so far.Canadian government officials say they expect the border to stay largely closed for the foreseeable future, despite calls from U.S. members of Congress to consider a phased plan for reopening.COVID-19 cases are hitting record daily highs in a large number of U.S. states — which would make any resumption of pre-pandemic travel a significant health threat to Canada."We recognize that the situation continues to be complex in the United States in regards to COVID-19," Trudeau said Monday at a press conference. "Every month, we have been able to extend the border closures to all but essential goods and services and those discussions are ongoing."Ontario Premier Doug Ford has said he doesn't want to see the border re-opened any time soon either.The Canadian Trucking Alliance's president Stephen Laskowski said in a statement to CBC News, that the pandemic has created new challenges and concerns for all workers, including those in the trucking industry. "CTA's best practices document deals with all these matters/concerns and truck drivers across the country are utilizing these methods to keep themselves and fellow Canadians safe."Henderson turning down jobs to the U.S.Steeves said that despite her own safety concerns, she and her husband have to keep working. "We have a truck payment. We own our own truck. We have bills, you know, and this is our living. So we really can't stop it," she said. "People still need stuff. The freight still has to move. You know, you still need the groceries, still need the toilet paper."But Henderson said he won't be taking any more jobs to the U.S. until things get better, and he knows that means his income will suffer. "It's going to take a hit but I'm not going to put myself in that position again," he said."I can't. It's too stressful."

Vaccinations of N.S. Grade 7 students still happening despite COVID-19 pandemic

Vaccinations of N.S. Grade 7 students still happening despite COVID-19 pandemicNova Scotia public health is urging Grade 7 students to get vaccinated.It scheduled 65 clinics across the province in July and August with the goal of vaccinating 9,200 Grade 7 students who missed their shots in April because of COVID-19."We're very optimistic, we hope that we're going to get great numbers. We're hoping to get at least 70 per cent immunized and if we don't we'll go back to the drawing board," Cara-Leah Hmidan, the public health manager for the Nova Scotia Health Authority's central zone, told CBC Nova Scotia News at 6 in an interview on Tuesday.According to the health authority, the four immunizations given in Grade 7 school clinics cover hepatitis B, HPV, meningococcal disease and tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis.Hmidan said the health authority is doing comprehensive COVID-19 screening on each student before they enter the clinic. As of Tuesday, 1,700 appointments have been booked.Hmidan said she thinks the pandemic is motivating parents to schedule appointments."They're very concerned. They want to make sure that their children are vaccinated," she said.Hmidan said students will be screened for COVID-19 ahead of time.She said if a student has any symptoms, the student will be separated from the others and a nurse in full protective gear will determine if the student is eligible for immunization."We have all our folks helping us at all points in the clinic because we are doing very comprehensive COVID-19 screening before a student enters our clinic," she said.Parents looking to schedule vaccinations for their children should call their local public health office.MORE TOP STORIES

Wednesday 15th of July 2020 02:05:00


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