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March 21 UPDATE: Western Canada and COVID-19

There are currently 1,046 cases across Canada including 14 people who have recovered and 12 deaths.

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More than half of the COVID-19 cases in Canada are in Alberta and British Columbia. There are currently 586 positive cases from B.C. to Manitoba.

Alberta

Alberta announced 31 new cases which brings the numbers of confirmed cases in the province to 226.

16 cases, in total may be from community spread. Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health said that it appears Calgary and Edmonton are the only areas at that seem to have been affected by community spread at this time.

Eleven people are in hospital with 6 in intensive care.

10 individuals have been hospitalized and three people have recovered.

Health officials said one of the cases is in a nursing home.

Numerous prominent Albertan’s got together for an anti-virus video.

AHS said at one point a small number of nurses walked off the job because they thought they were not being provided the protection they needed. CBC reported roughly 30 nurses in Edmonton have refused to swab patients for the coronavirus because Alberta Health Services (AHS) won’t provide N95 masks, their union says.

A work camp in Fort McMurray is warning employees about a presumptive case on-site.

Dr. Hinshaw reiterated that the virus is not food-borne and people do not need to worry about transmission in meals. She said there was a slight possibility that the virus could live on containers but transferring it to a new dish and washing hands before eating is effective enough to reduce risk.

New measures are being enacted to protect care centres. Only one visitor may be allowed in at one time and must be designated. Care centres are being asked to install security to verify visitors.

One of the most important things you can do is pick up the phone and call our loved ones, Dr. Hinshaw said.

The government will propose an amendment to the Emergency Management Act to allow more than one state of emergency to exist at one time. The current Act effectively gives all decision-making power to the province and the amendment would allow for the local government to provide additional measures as needed for those residents impacted.

As of March 20, there have been 25 local states of emergency declared in Alberta municipalities as the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 rise.

Additional information for Alberta residents can be found here.

British Columbia

The province announced they have a total of 424 cases.

22 people are in hospital, including 10 in ICU.

University of Victoria and St. Michael’s University confirmed students have tested positive.

Concerns about a potential outbreak at the fourth care home in British Columbia, Dufferin Care Home in Coquitlam, after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19.

Healthcare staff work at more than one facility. The local health authority said it is trying to ensure that staff at the Dufferin facility do not work at any other location while the investigation is being conducted.

Officials said that approximately two dozen healthcare workers in the province have tested positive for the virus. The illnesses in those workers have reportedly been mild and individuals recovered at home in most cases.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said that personal protective supplies and equipment are currently in good supply.

“We do have enough supplies right now. We are doing everything to ensure we can protect anyone in the health care system,” Dr. Henry said.

City of Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart has asked restaurants and bars to close to dine-in patronage.

“The changes being announced today are major. They mean … many, many people will be laid off,” said Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart.

“We are doing this because we think this is what we need to do to keep vulnerable people from becoming seriously ill, or worse.”

Additional information for B.C. residents can be found here.

Manitoba

For the second day in a row, Manitoba has not reported a new case. The province has 17 confirmed cases and one person has been hospitalized.

Premier Brian Pallister declared a state of emergency to deal with COVID-19.

The declaration enables legal enforcement of compliance related to public health strategies.

New measures will include banning public gatherings of more than 50 people, closing gyms, casinos and other gaming centres.

Grocery and retail stores, including pharmacies, will remain open providing they are able to observe appropriate social distancing within.

Restaurants, bars, nightclubs and performance event centres are required to limit access to 50 people or half capacity, whichever is lower.

Additional information for Manitoba residents can be found here.

Saskatchewan

The province added another six cases, bringing its total to 26 lab-confirmed and presumptive cases.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority now says all health-care workers who returned from international travel on or after March 6 must immediately self isolate for 14 days. Previously, those who’d returned before March 16 were cleared to go back to work.

Regina declared a state of emergency to broaden its powers in addition to the province’s state of emergency announced earlier this week.

In addition to the provincial measures, Regina residents will see a ban on public gatherings of more than 25 people, excluding areas where people can maintain a distance of two metres from one another. Nightclubs, bars and lounges have been ordered to close to patrons but can still offer take-out so long as they can maintain appropriate social distancing.

Effective Monday March 23, restaurants, cafeterias, food courts, cafes, and bistros are being ordered to close but can still offer take-out.

Dental offices must close for anything but emergent or essential procedures.

It is now mandatory that anyone returning to Saskatchewan from anywhere outside of Canada self-isolate for a 14-day period.

Premier Scott Moe said several of the new cases were linked to international travel.

Additional information for Saskatchewan residents can be found here.

There are currently 1,046 cases across Canada including 14 people who have recovered and 12 deaths.

  • British Columbia: 348 confirmed cases, including 5 recovered and 8 deaths
  • Ontario: 308 cases, including 5 recovered and 2 deaths
  • Alberta: 195 confirmed cases, including 3 recovered and 1 death
  • Quebec: 121 confirmed cases, including 1 recovered and 1 death
  • Saskatchewan: 26 confirmed and presumptive cases
  • New Brunswick: 11 confirmed and presumptive cases
  • Manitoba: 17 confirmed and presumptive cases
  • Nova Scotia: 15 confirmed and presumptive cases
  • Prince Edward Island: 2 cases the province lists as positive
  • Newfoundland and Labrador: 3 presumptive cases
  • Territories: 0

Deirdre Mitchell-MacLean is a Senior Reporter with Western Standard
dmaclean@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter @Mitchell_AB

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UPDATED: Saskatchewan election called

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe will send the province into an election Tuesday.

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Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe will send the province into an election Tuesday.

Moe took to twitter Monday night to tell voters they would be going to the polls in the middle of a COVID-19 pandemic.

“Tomorrow, I will ask Lt. Gov. Russ Mirasty to dissolve the Legislature,” Moe tweeted.

“This will be quite a different #skvotes campaign –but a very important one that will ask Saskatchewan voters one question: Who do you trust to lead Saskatchewan’s economic recovery?”

When the legislature was dissolved, Moe’s Saskatchewan Party held a 46-13 lead over the NDP.

Moe was sworn in as premier in 2018.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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CORY MORGAN WEBCAST: Wild goose hunt, Alberta style

An interview with Jason Siliker of Canadian Premier Hunts on the multiple times that the RCMP interrupted his goose hunt.

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B.C. Liberals vow to cancel PST for one year; return at 3 per cent

“Everybody pays the PST, so everybody saves under the B.C. Liberal plan,” said Andrew Wilkinson

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B.C. Liberals say, if elected, they will help the economy recover by removing the 7 per cent provincial sales tax for one year.

After a year, a Liberal government would set the PST at 3 per cent until the economy recovers.

The federal GST is currently 5 per cent.

“British Columbians have lost confidence in the direction of the province and the weak economic record of the NDP. B.C. families and small businesses need help now, which is why a B.C. Liberal government will immediately eliminate the PST for one year — saving you money right away, getting more people working, and bringing investment back to B.C.,” said B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson.

“Countless people are still out of work, small businesses are facing bankruptcy, and the public health threat from COVID-19 is still very real.

“Eliminating PST puts more money in people’s pockets, stimulates growth for struggling small business, and helps British Columbians who are struggling to get by. This is a vital step to rebuild our economy.”

The Liberals say a family of four earning $60,000 per parent will save $1,714 in the first year, followed by an additional $979 in the second year. 

“Everybody pays the PST, so everybody saves under the B.C. Liberal plan,” said Wilkinson.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is applauding the pledge.

“We pay the PST on everything from used cars to toilet paper so this would save everyone a lot of money,” said Kris Sims, B.C. Director of the CTF.

“The best way to save people money is for governments to stop taking so much of it in the first place.

“We hope all of the parties can match or beat this promise so we can get serious about tax cuts during this election.”

In the 2019-20 budget year, British Columbians paid more than $7.5 billion in the PST.

“We need to do all we can to jolt our economy back to life and eliminating the PST would clear a lot of hurdles for working people and struggling businesses to get things rolling again,” said Sims.

“People know how to spend their money much better than the government does.”

B.C. residents go to the polls Oct. 24.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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