Cargill is dealing with another outbreak of COVID-19 at one of its meat processing plants, this time in Chambly, Que., just southeast of Montreal, where the company has confirmed 64 of its workers have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), representing 500 workers at the plant, said 171 other employees were sent home last week because of possible exposure to those infected.
The plant is now winding down its operation with a plan to shut down temporarily on Wednesday. Cargill says it had implemented safety measures, including installing Plexiglas between workers where possible and providing masks, visors and safety glasses.
A Cargill beef packing plant in High River, Alta., reopened last Monday after a two-week shutdown. More than 900 of 2,000 workers at that plant have tested positive for the virus.
On Sunday, the global pandemic made celebrating Mother’s Day trickier, especially for people living in long-term care facilities, who are barred from any physical contact with family members.
Many mothers have been receiving the traditional messages of love and gratitude by remote means, or from the other side of glass barriers.
WATCH | Canadians celebrate their moms from a distance:
Federal officials issued warnings Saturday about the dangers to long-term care residents if COVID-19 restrictions are lifted too quickly.
Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said Saturday that 20 per cent of cases of COVID-19 have been in seniors’ facilities, but they make up more than 80 per cent of coronavirus-related deaths.
To date, labs across 🇨🇦 have tested >1,090,000 people for <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID19?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#COVID19</a>, w\ an average ~6% positive overall. In the past 7 days, an average of >26,000 people have been tested daily as <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/publichealth?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#publichealth</a> continues to ↑ capacity to <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/TestandTrace?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#TestandTrace</a>.
Hassan Yussuff, president of the Canadian Labour Congress, is calling for an end to privately run long-term care facilities in Canada.
In an interview with CBC on Sunday, he recommended bringing the sector completely under the Canada Health Act and imposing national standards, while ensuring federal transfers of health-care money to the provinces are actually spent on long-term care.
During his daily briefing Saturday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was “very worried” about residents of Montreal, the epicentre of the pandemic in Canada, as Quebec prepares to loosen confinement measures despite a rash of fatal outbreaks at nursing homes.
Quebec’s public health institute has warned that deaths could soar to 150 a day in the greater Montreal area if physical distancing measures are lifted. And new cases could balloon to 10,000 by June amid a potential surge in hospitalizations.
On Saturday, Trudeau also talked about a misfire for getting Canadian health-care workers personal protective equipment (PPE) and said Canada will not pay the full price for medical masks that do not live up to medical standards.
About eight million of 11 million N95 respirators shipped to the government from China through a Montreal-based supplier failed to meet specifications, federal officials said on Friday. Trudeau said the discovery speaks to the government’s “rigorous verification system” overseen by the Public Health Agency of Canada.
Trudeau said some of those leftover N95 masks — so-named because they are supposed to screen out 95 per cent of small particles — may be distributed for non-medical use.
Canada continues to experience a shortage of PPE amid a global surge in demand triggered by the pandemic while Canadian manufacturers scramble to pivot to PPE production.
Elementary schools in western Quebec, meanwhile, are set to reopen Monday, but attendance is optional. Desks will be spaced apart, and each student will have separate supplies and classes will be limited to 15 students. For recess, each class will have its own toys, disinfected after each use. Many schools will keep gyms, cafeterias and libraries closed.
WATCH | Quebec prepares to reopen some schools:
Premier François Legault said last this week that elementary schools, daycares and retail stores with outdoor entrances in Montreal can reopen May 25 — the second time he has pushed back the date, but ahead of other large cities.
In Ontario, people will be able to enjoy some more green space on Monday. Provincial parks and conservation reserves are reopening with limited day-use activities. Visitors will be able to walk, hike, bike and birdwatch. But camping, playgrounds, beaches and other facilities like washrooms remain off limits. A total of 520 parks are set to open on Monday; the remaining 115 on Friday. People are still being urged to practise physical distancing and stay two metres apart.
Newfoundland and Labrador has been loosening some public health restrictions in a series of “alert levels” descending from five. The move to Level 4 on Monday is to allow some medical procedures to resume as well as low-risk activities, such as golf, hunting and fishing.
Low-risk businesses, including garden centres, and professional services, such as law firms, are also to reopen at this level. Alert Level 4 is to remain in place for at least 28 days.
WATCH | Business Panel discusses massive Canada, U.S. unemployment numbers:
As of 6:20 p.m. ET Sunday, there were a total of 68,848 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases in Canada, with 32,109 of the cases considered recovered or resolved. A CBC tally of COVID-19 deaths based on provincial data, regional health information and CBC’s reporting, listed 4,970 deaths in Canada and another two deaths of Canadians abroad.
The virus, which first emerged in China and spread around the world, has prompted governments to introduce a range of measures, including lockdowns, business closures and stay-at-home orders, to slow its spread.
Read on for a look at what’s happening in Canada, the United States and around the world.
What’s happening in the provinces and territories
British Columbia is developing plans to allow family members to return to long-term care facilities to visit relatives.
Visits by family members, other than end-of-life visits, have been severely restricted at seniors’ residences since March, when Vancouver-area facilities began to see COVID-19 outbreaks and deaths.
But Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said restrictions on visits must remain in place for the near future to limit the spread of the virus. Read more about what’s happening in B.C.
Alberta health officials will open a temporary second centre to test for COVID-19 in the southern city of Brooks, as an outbreak connected to a nearby slaughterhouse continues to grow.
A total of 1,046 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Brooks, where an outbreak at the JBS Foods plant has seen a total of 600 confirmed and probable cases among its 2,500 workers. Read more about what’s happening in Alberta.
Saskatchewan says it has agreed to a request from a northern community to suspend alcohol sales in order to help control the spread of the virus.
La Loche Mayor Robert St. Pierre said last week that councillors had requested the province close down the village’s liquor store to prevent people from leaving their homes and gathering. The province says that after further consultation with community and Indigenous leaders, it notified them that the closure of liquor retailers would proceed.
Effective Sunday, the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority retail store and private off-sale in La Loche will be closed for two weeks. The Dené village, about 600 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon, has more than 136 cases, and two elders at the local seniors’ home have died.
The government says the Ministry of Health and Saskatchewan Health Authority will support La Loche to identify and assist people at risk of harm due to alcohol withdrawal, and will also supply more alcohol addictions program supports. Read more about what’s happening in Saskatchewan.
Manitoba confirmed three new cases on Sunday. The government also said that it is lifting the one-month supply limit on prescription drugs on Monday, allowing residents with prescriptions for long-term medications to fill them as per their prescriber’s directions up to a three-month supply, if the drug is not affected by shortages. Read more about what’s happening in Manitoba.
WATCH | Manitoba dental professionals take precautions as they head back to work:
Ontario reported 294 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, the lowest daily number of new cases since March 31.
The province is set to reopen provincial parks and conservation areas on Monday, albeit with limited access. Stores with a street entrance can also open for curbside pickup.
Meanwhile, Ontario residents looked to the skies on Sunday as the Snowbirds fly over eastern and southern Ontario. The team is on a cross-country tour to salute to Canadians helping fight the spread of COVID-19. Read more about what’s happening in Ontario.
Quebec reported 142 new deaths and 735 more cases on Sunday. The new numbers come a day before the province is set to ease some confinement measures.
Elementary schools and daycares outside the greater Montreal area on Monday will see children for the first time since March 16. In Montreal, where infections are higher than in Quebec’s other regions, schools and daycares won’t reopen until at least May 25.
Along with the schools reopening, several more regions will lift travel restrictions on Monday, including Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Outaouais, Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean and parts of the Mauricie. Read more about what’s happening in Quebec.
New Brunswick recorded no new cases on Sunday. The province’s total remains at 120 cases and 118 recoveries. Of the two active cases, one is related to travel, and the other remains under investigation.
Premier Blaine Higgs took the province to Phase 2 of its recovery plan on Friday, which allows some elective surgeries to occur, as well as outdoor gatherings of 10 people or less. Some businesses — including restaurants — were also allowed to reopen under strict conditions. Read more about what’s happening in N.B.
There are no new cases of COVID-19 in New Brunswick today. The number of confirmed cases remains at 120. As of Sunday, 17,772 tests have been conducted. There are two active cases in the province, none in hospital. So far, 118 people have recovered from the virus.
Nova Scotia reported seven new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, bringing the province’s total to 1,018, including 47 deaths. There have been 1,018 cases in the province, according to Sunday’s update, but 749 people have recovered. Nine people are in hospital; three in intensive care.
Northwood long-term care home in Halifax, which is considered the provincial epicentre for the virus, reported two new cases among residents on Sunday. It has had 41 deaths due to COVID-19. The facility has 157 residents and 20 employees with active cases, but recoveries have increased significantly, the facility’s CEO said Saturday. Read more about what’s happening in N.S.
In Prince Edward Island, some Access P.E.I. locations will open to the public beginning Tuesday with modified service. The government is encouraging Islanders to renew their motor vehicle registration online to help reduce the need for in-person service. Read more about what’s happening in P.E.I.
Newfoundland and Labrador is moving to Alert Level 4 of its pandemic response on Sunday after reporting no new cases for the third day in a row.
Beginning Monday, some health orders will be relaxed to allow more social and business activities to begin, while continuing to minimize the chance of a further outbreak. Read more about what’s happening in N.L.
In Canada’s North, the company that operates the Diavik Diamond Mine in the Northwest Territories says it is introducing COVID-19 testing as a “precautionary measure.” The program is being put in place in collaboration with the territory’s chief public health officer, according to a news released by mining group Rio Tinto. All workers will be tested when they arrive and before they leave Diavik. Read more about what’s happening across the North.
Here’s a look at what’s happening in the U.S.
U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence is self-isolating after an aide tested positive for the COVID-19 illness last week.
An administration official says Pence is voluntarily limiting his exposure and will work from home. He has repeatedly tested negative for COVID-19 since his exposure but is following the advice of medical officials.
Three other members of the task force, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, placed themselves in quarantine after coming into contact with the aide, Pence spokesperson Katie Miller.
Meanwhile, in hard-hit New York, nursing homes must start twice-weekly coronavirus testing for all staffers and will no longer be sent COVID-19 patients leaving hospitals, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday after facing criticism over the handling of nursing facility outbreaks.
Of the more than 26,000 COVID-19 deaths in U.S. nursing homes and long-term care facilities, over 5,200 are in New York, according to a count by The Associated Press. That’s the highest number of nursing home deaths in the country, though other states have also struggled to control the virus in nursing facilities.
Critics have faulted New York for taking weeks to release the number of deaths in individual homes, for still not releasing the number of cases and for not conducting or requiring widespread testing in the facilities.
Now, workers will be tested twice a week, Cuomo said at a news briefing. Residents are being tested as much as possible, he said.
Any nursing home that fails to follow health procedures will lose their license.<br><br>Remember: If a nursing home cannot provide adequate care, they MUST call the State Department of Health to transfer the resident.
Also Sunday, Treasure Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the jobless numbers in the U.S. “are probably going to get worse before they get better,” but the bigger risk to the country is keeping businesses closed rather than states allowing some to reopen.
Mnuchin spoke as most states begin to loosen their restrictions on businesses after extended shutdowns designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus. He says that if reopenings are not allowed it would have permanent economic damage to the American public. Another 3.2 million U.S. workers applied for jobless benefits last week, bringing the total over the last seven weeks to 33.5 million.
Mnuchin says that increased testing and the prospect of better treatments will give businesses and workers the confidence to reopen in a careful way. He says, “You are going to have a very, very bad second quarter. And then I think you’re going to see a bounce-back from a low standpoint.”
According to a tally by Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. has more than 1.3 million confirmed cases and more than 79,000 deaths.
Here’s a look at what’s happening around the world
Worldwide, the virus has infected more than four million people and killed over 280,000, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University based on official data. But limited testing, differences in counting the dead and concealment by some governments undoubtedly mean the true scale of the pandemic is much greater.
Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China late last year.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has dismissed as “false allegations” a media report that it withheld information about the coronavirus following pressure from China.
The UN agency said in a statement late Saturday that a German magazine Der Spiegel report that Chinese President Xi Jinping asked WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a Jan. 21 telephone call to hold back information about human-to-human transmission of the virus and delay declaring a pandemic “unfounded and untrue.” The magazine quoted Germany’s foreign intelligence agency, BND, which declined to comment Sunday.
WHO said Tedros and Xi “have never spoken by phone” and added that “such inaccurate reports distract and detract from WHO’s and the world’s efforts to end the COVID-19 pandemic.” It said that China confirmed human-to-human transmission of the coronavirus on Jan. 20. WHO officials issued a statement two days later saying there was evidence of human-to-human transmission in Wuhan, but more investigation was necessary.
WATCH | WHO pressed on finding source of COVID-19:
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a modest easing of the country’s lockdown Sunday, saying in a television address that people in the United Kingdom who can’t work from home, such as those in construction or manufacturing jobs, “should be actively encouraged to go to work” this week.
He said that starting Wednesday, a restriction limiting outdoor exercise to once a day will be lifted and that people will be able to take “unlimited amounts.” He stressed that physical distancing guidelines still will have to be observed and said it would be “madness” to allow a second spike in infections.
The U.K. has more than 220,000 confirmed cases and more than 31,000 deaths.
WATCH | PM announces modest easing of Britain’s coronavirus lockdown:
Italy registered 802 new cases in the 24-hour period ending Sunday evening local time, the lowest total of daily new cases since the start of the nationwide lockdown in early March. It’s also the first time daily new cases have dropped below the 1,000-mark since very early in the country’s outbreak.
Italy now totals 219,070 known cases. There were 165 deaths because of the virus since Saturday evening, raising the number of known deaths of infected patients to 30,560.
Russia’s count of coronavirus infections has climbed above 200,000 after its highest daily tally of new cases. Figures released Sunday recorded 11,012 new cases of the virus for a total of 209,688, with 1,915 deaths attributed to COVID-19.
Russian officials say the sharp rise in numbers can be attributed to increased testing, at least in part. More than half the infection cases and deaths are recorded in Moscow, which will remain under a lockdown for the rest of the month.
In South Korea, the mayor of a city near Seoul has ordered the temporary closing of clubs, discos and other nightlife establishments amid concerns of a second wave of COVID-19 cases in the country.
Mayor Park Namchoon of Incheon city to the west of Seoul says the closing of nightlife facilities will last for two weeks and that anyone violating the order can be punished by up to two years in prison or a 20 million won ($22,960 Cdn) fine. Seoul and its surrounding Gyeonggi province have already taken similar steps after new cases associated to nightclubs in Seoul’s Itaewon entertainment district were detected in recent days.
South Korea reported 34 new virus cases on Sunday, the first day that its daily tally was over 30 in about a month. Officials said that 24 out the 34 cases were linked to Itaewon nightclubs.
Africa has more than 60,000 confirmed cases, according to a tally from the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Africa CDC says that all but one of the continent’s 54 countries, tiny Lesotho, has confirmed cases of the virus. South Africa has the most with more than 9,400 registered.
The widespread shortage of testing capacity continues to be a challenge and means the true figures are likely to be much higher.
Some countries are easing lockdowns even as cases rise, arguing people have to make a living and feed their families despite the risks.
Turkey’s senior citizens have been allowed to leave their homes for the first time in seven weeks under relaxed coronavirus restrictions. Those aged 65 and over, deemed most at risk from the virus, had been subjected to a curfew since March 21, but they were permitted outside Sunday for four hours as part of a rolling program of reduced controls. Under-20s will be allowed outside for a similar period later in the week.
Turkey has recorded 137,115 cases and 3,739 deaths attributed to COVID-19, according to a tally by John Hopkins University.
Syria has resumed public transport within provinces for the first time in nearly two months as the country eases its lockdown. The country has registered 47 cases of COVID-19 and three deaths so far.
Also Sunday, masses were held in churches around Syria for the first time since mid-March and worshippers were sprayed with disinfectants before they entered churches.
View original article here Source