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COVID-19 on P.E.I.: What’s happening Wednesday, March 25

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Health PEI’s chief of nursing Marion Dowling is scheduled to join chief public health officer Dr. Heather Morrison at her daily 1:30 p.m. briefing.

Dowling will discuss the health system’s preparedness for COVID-19.

Charlottetown’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital has set up special facilities for treating COVID-19 patients.

The facilities include modifications to the hospital emergency department and a separate ward and ICU.

CBC News: Compass, P.E.I.’s supper hour news program, is scheduled to return to CBC-TV on Thursday.

Steven Myers announced the province will reopen the Oak Tree liquor store in Charlottetown Wednesday, with limited hours of operation.

A social media researcher is advising parents that with children spending more time online during the pandemic, it’s important to talk to them about what they’re doing there.

The Island’s university and college students are beginning to return to class, but all online.

While spending more time at home, Islanders are taking advantage of resources at provincial libraries, again, all online. The physical libraries are closed.

Island Waste Management Corporation is reminding Islanders wipes cannot be flushed. They should go in waste. IWMC has other tips to help keep its workers safe.

The P.E.I. government has announced a partnership with Sobeys to provide $100 gift cards for Islanders who have been laid off and are waiting for employment insurance. Islanders can use the gift cards at Sobeys, Lawtons Drugs, Foodland and participating Co-ops.

In a news briefing Tuesday afternoon, Dr. Morrison cautioned Islanders of an expected rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the province.

Morrison emphasized the importance of social distancing and self-isolation — and knowing the difference

Dr. Heather Morrison warned of an increase in COVID-19 cases soon Tuesday during her afternoon media briefing. (Ken Linton/CBC)

  • A full list of COVID-19 cancellations can be viewed here. You can report closures on our cancellation hotline at 1-877-236-9350.

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​​​Financial relief

  • IRAC suspends rental hearings until April 6 in response to the pandemic.

  • Ottawa has agreed not to claw back money provided under the employment insurance program under these special circumstances, and some Islanders not currently eligible for EI will be able to get it, says Premier Dennis King.

  • The Charlottetown water and sewer utility is offering options for flexible payments to people suffering financial difficulties during the public health emergency.
  • The province has announced $2 million to further support early learning centres, staff and parents. Minister of Education Brad Trivers said the funding will ensure that families will not have to pay fees while early learning centres are required to be closed. The fund is expected to cover the next six weeks. 
  • The province announced $500,000 in relief, including money for United Way, food banks, the Salvation Army and other non-government organizations that help Islanders.
  • Innovation PEI will provide self-employed Islanders $500 a week, and provide loans of up to $100,000 to small business affected by the pandemic.
  • Workers who continue to work but have had their hours cut due to COVID-19 will be eligible for a temporary $200 allowance per week.
  • The province’s largest landlord, the P.E.I. Housing Corporation, will suspend evictions for six weeks. 
  • Maritime Electric is suspending disconnection for non-payment for two weeks.
  • P.E.I. Education Minister Brad Trivers announced licensed daycare staff will be eligible for employment insurance. Grants and subsidies will continue for licensed daycares. The province will provide emergency child-care services to essential workers who have no other options. 

Health

  • Blood donation is still needed in the COVID-19 pandemic. Canadian Blood Services’ location at 85 Fitzroy St. in Charlottetown has the goal of collecting 32 units a day.

  • The College of Physicians and Surgeons of P.E.I. is fast-tracking its licensing process in response to COVID-19.

  • P.E.I. has launched an online self-assessment for COVID-19 to alleviate high call volumes to 811.

  • P.E.I. Family Violence Prevention services is concerned social isolation could bring on more domestic violence.

  • Health PEI said it will restrict all visitors to its facilities, except palliative care, intensive care, neonatal intensive care, obstetric and pediatric units. In these units, only one designated visitor is permitted — a member of the patient’s immediate family or their care partner within the hospital.

  • Seniors’ homes and community care facilities across the province remain closed to outside visitors.

  • The P.E.I. government is publishing the number of positive, negative and pending test results on its website. 

  • All dental clinics on P.E.I. are closed until further notice. Some clinics can manage emergency care, patients must first call to have emergencies evaluated.

  • Physiotherapy clinics across P.E.I. will close until further notice, the physiotherapy association announced Wednesday, while chiropractors and optometrists said they are scaling back services.

  • Health PEI is rescheduling non-essential appointments, and said those affected will be contacted directly.

  • People who are ill or showing any symptoms of illness are being asked to call 811 and stay away from any P.E.I. health-care centres, unless they are seeking treatment. 

Schools, colleges and university

  • Education Minister Brad Trivers announced optional “home-learning resources” will be posted online for students to learn at home after March break is over. Schools are closed. Officials are working on curriculum-based resources to roll out online If schools remain closed after April 6.

  • P.E.I. and Canada Student Loan repayments have been suspended for six months. 

  • UPEI and Holland College classes have resumed online.

  • UPEI and Holland College have essential personnel only on campus.

  • Child-care centres are also closed.

Travel

COVID-19: What you need to know

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms include:

But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia, which can lead to death.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Isolate yourself and call your local public health authority. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested.

How can I protect myself?

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Be aware of evolving travel advisories to different regions.

More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government’s website.

More COVID-19 stories from CBC P.E.I.



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Education

Megxit: Where Harry and Meghan could send Archie to school

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  • The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will give up every aspect of royal life when they officially resign in April.
  • Its been rumored that they relocated to Vancouver island, but they reportedly moved to LA before Canada’s coronavirus border closure last week.
  • As Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s lives will change considerably, their son’s will too.
  • Even though Prince Harry (and 15 other royals) attended the notorious Eton College, baby Archie will probably not.
  • But he’ll undoubtedly receive a top-tier education. Business Insider rounded up potential playgrounds for him in Los Angeles and across Canada, including his mother’s alma mater, a school Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau taught at, and another school Trudeau attended himself.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry announced their plans to step back from their royal duties and titles in January. They will officially shut down their office at Buckingham Palace and stop receiving funds from the “sovereign grant” on April 1.

It was rumored the pair would relocate to Canada — they’ve been spending time on Vancouver Island — but they reportedly moved to LA last week before Canada’s border closed amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Their lives will change in a number of ways — but so will their son’s. 

Archie Mountbatten-Windsor is ten months old, and while he was born a royal, he won’t be raised as one. His father attended Eton College, an elite boarding school outside of London that members of the royal family traditionally attend, but Archie will most likely not follow in his footsteps.

Even though he won’t attend Eton, which has been referred to as “the nursery of England’s gentlemen,” Archie will probably receive a similarly top-tier education in Canada — or Hollywood.

Business Insider rounded up a few posh places he could land when it’s finally time for Archie to attend school. Elite prep schools on this list could have tuitions as high as nearly $80,000.

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Call police for COVID-19 offenses? Not that simple

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Police, Ottawa city councillors and news organizations have all been fielding complaints about people not complying with the instructions from public health officials on reducing the transmission of COVID-19.

Complaints from neighbours telling on neighbours who aren’t self-isolating, or groups of kids hanging out at a local park, not following social distancing — now called physical distancing — practices have been pouring in.

And people want to know where they can report those rule-breakers.

On Friday evening, for example, police were called to the Glebe after someone complained that about a dozen neighbours were having a “driveway party”, although they were standing two metres apart and in different driveways. Officers told people not to stand on the sidewalk while drinking, and then left. 

Ottawa Coun. Tim Tierney told his city council colleagues during Wednesday’s virtual council meeting: “I’ve had some people come to me, saying, ‘Look, my neighbours — I don’t want to be a rat — but they just got back from a trip, I see them going out to a grocery story.’

“Do we have any policies and procedures on that, to report people?” asked Tierney. 

The unsatisfactory answer: it depends.

Quarantine Act, state of emergency now in effect

There’s a difference between what public health officials are asking of society, and the hard-and-fast rules about what people are allowed to do. And those details are changing on an almost daily basis.

Tierney asked his question of city officials the day before the federal government enacted the Quarantine Act, which makes it an offence for most people not to self-isolate for 14 days when returning from travel outside Canada.

Last week, the province declared a state of emergency that prohibits, among other things, a whole slew of businesses from being open, and gatherings of more than 50 people.

The provinces have opened up non-compliance hotlines or websites for the public to report people who are not following social distancing or isolation rules. 1:56

The official enactments allow law-enforcement officers to charge people breaking these specific rules if necessary.  Staff Sgt. Carolle Dionne, the media spokesperson for the Ontario Provincial Police, says officers would, for example, absolutely respond to a request from a quarantine officer “to apprehend a person who failed to comply” with the rules.

But charging people is the last, not the first, line of defence for enforcement officers.

“It is not about, go and find people because they haven’t complied,” Dionne told CBC.

The OPP’s primary goal, she said, is to help educate people on how to reduce COVID-19 transmission.

“Once we’ve been able to determine that that piece of education has been done and there is a repetition of failing to comply, then definitely issuing fines … at the discretion of that investigation of the officer.”

Ottawa police Chief Peter Sloly says he’s taking his cue, “philosophically and practically”, from Ottawa’s medical officer of health, Dr. Vera Etches and her team.

“For them, enforcement is not the priority,” Sloly told CBC’s Ottawa Morning host Robyn Bresnahan Friday. “Education of the public, engagement of those who still don’t recognize the risk, who don’t understand how to protect themselves and therefore protect the broader community, is the first and biggest priority and will remain so until we see a change from Dr. Etches.”

Officers following up, even if not illegal activities

Some of the complaints that people are filing — and authorities say they are following up on them — aren’t illegal or sometimes based on misunderstanding.

If you’re caught disobeying the physical distancing rule you can now be charged, under the Quarantine Act. We hear from the Chief of the Ottawa Police Service about how their force is handling coronavirus law-breakers and policing in the age of COVID-19. 10:09

For example, Ottawa police have received calls about restaurants being open illegally, when in fact they are open only for take-out, which is allowed.

Early this week, the city received complaints about groups of young people in local parks, which is against the recommendation for physical distancing. Hanging around in a gang of 10 friends isn’t illegal, though.

Still, the city’s by-law officers showed up and managed to dispatch them.

Now that the City of Ottawa has declared its own state of emergency and closed many public amenities, including playgrounds and dog parks, it is unclear what additional charges or fines its own by-law officers may be able to lay.

The city was not able to respond to CBC’s request from late Wednesday for more information.

Neighbours shouldn’t use police to settle disputes

Authorities say they understand people’s impulse to report activity that looks as if it could be endangering public health.

“I can certainly believe that there’d be a lot of frustration,” said Dionne.

(CBC News)

She says most people are complying with orders — official or otherwise — to stay home, and to stay two metres away from others when they have to go out. These folks then find it difficult to hear that “police can’t do anything” about people who aren’t complying.

There isn’t an official COVID-19 snitch line in Ottawa, but officials say they do want to hear serious concerns about public health risks. In Ottawa, residents can call 3-1-1, and those outside the city can call the OPP’s non-emergency line. 

Still, the police aren’t there to mediate disputes among neighbours.

“Do not use or abuse the police to settle issues that shouldn’t be dealt with through the police,” said Sloly. ” Do not frustrate the efforts of Ottawa public health by being petty or uninformed. There’s no excuse for anybody to not be informed.”

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Coronavirus: B.C. teachers scramble to organize at-home learning as spring break ends

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The B.C. government has launched a website to help parents continue their child’s education at home, as spring break comes to an end but the coronavirus pandemic continues.

The Keep Learning BC website was announced on Friday afternoon, where parents will find ideas for everyday educational activities, links to free learning resources, guides to maintaining routines and staying safe online, and mental health resources.

School districts around the province are trying to figure out remote instruction for kids of all ages, abilities and computer access, as spring break ends March 27 but in-classroom instruction remains on hold to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

The Vancouver School District will start to reach out to parents next week, after officials sent a letter to parents outlining plans to keep their kids learning.


READ MORE:
B.C. suspends K-12 classes indefinitely amid coronavirus pandemic, says economic help coming

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“For Vancouver students, school will not be the same. As you know, in-class instruction is suspended. This means there will be a fundamental shift in school services and supports for students,” the letter reads.

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“Teachers and support staff will need time to prepare and plan for what that looks like and how to carry out the plans to support students. One of our top three priorities is to establish ways to maintain supportive connections between home and school.”

Parents across B.C. should expect to hear from their own school district by the end of next week.

Teachers and administrators are still expected to be at schools if they can do so under B.C.’s public health orders. They’ll continue to be paid a full salary through the end of the school year.

“The school system will be functioning. People will be doing their jobs. They will just do them differently,” Education Minister Rob Fleming said.






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B.C. high school kids stuck in Peru after country takes drastic measures to control COVID-19

Schools will also serve as childcare space for essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as health workers, first responders and grocery-store workers. Parents looking for such childcare should contact their school’s principal.

The province is leaving most of the planning and decisions to individual districts, but has produced a fact sheet online with the most frequently asked questions.

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As for students with special learning needs, the government says it will ensure they get the same level of education as everyone else.






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Coronavirus school closures extended as B.C. cases grow

“For students who were receiving specialized supports (e.g. physical therapy, occupational therapy) on-site, school district and independent school teams have been asked to consider alternate service delivery models where feasible,” the face sheet says.

The Learning Disabilities Society of Greater Vancouver launched the online RISE at Home program this week, which provides one-on-one at-home instruction to kids with learning disabilities. It will be available on the society’s website on March 30.



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