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Today’s coronavirus news: GTA reports fewest cases in more than 4 months; Ford announces $4 billion in COVID-19 funding for Ontario cities

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KEY FACTS

  • 1:10 p.m.: Ford announces $4 billion in COVID-19 funding

  • 11:45 a.m.: Young people make up most of new Ontario cases

  • 8:20 a.m.: Mandatory masks for Quebecers using public transit

The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Monday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.

7:45 p.m.: Toronto is “very close” to securing federal funding so people who are have COVID-19 and risk infection other at home could soon self-isolate in a free room with food, laundry and Wi-Fi for up to two weeks.

Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s senior public health official, is asking city council this week to authorize her to enter into an agreement with the federal government to fund a 140-room, city-run “isolation site.”

The program, modelled on that of New York City and other cities, is aimed at lower-income people who get infected but, because of crowded living conditions and other factors, can’t ensure they won’t spread the virus to others.

No site has yet been confirmed. The city estimates it would cost $12.7 million to operate a 140-room facility for one year.

Coun. Joe Cressy, chair of the Toronto Public Health, said Toronto is “very close” to getting federal funding, calling the project an excellent investment in preventing a major second wave of COVID-19.

The Star’s David Rider has more details.

5:35 p.m.: With just 23 new COVID-19 infections reported in the region Monday, the GTA has seen the fewest new cases in any day in more than five months, according to the Star’s latest count.

It’s been 131 days since March 18 — the last time the GTA’s five local health units reported fewer than 25 new infections, well before the worst of the pandemic took hold in Ontario.

At the time, just a single Ontarian had yet died of virus; more than 40,000 in the province have been infected since.

As of 5 p.m. Monday, Ontario’s regional health units are reporting a total of 40,873 confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19, including 2,799 deaths, up 150 cases in 24 hours.

As has been the case in recent days, the new infections reported Monday predominantly came outside the GTA.

Inside the region, Toronto reported just five new cases Monday — its fewest since the second week of March — York and Durham regions one each, and Halton Region once again reported no new infections. Just Peel Region, which has seen case counts fall more slowly than elsewhere, reported in the double digits, with 16 new cases.

Elsewhere, both Windsor-Essex — 41 cases — and Ottawa — 28 — continued to report the worst rates of new infection. Both health units have seen notable jumps in cases in July.

The Star’s count includes some patients reported as “probable” COVID-19 cases, meaning they have symptoms and contacts or travel history that indicate they very likely have the disease, but have not yet received a positive lab test.

The province also cautions its data, published daily at 10:30 a.m., may be incomplete or out of date due to delays in the reporting system, saying that in the event of a discrepancy, “data reported by (the health units) should be considered the most up to date.”

2:10 p.m.: Toronto medical officer of health Dr. Eileen de Villa reports that there were only five new infections, the lowest daily increase in “quite some time.”

De Villa expressed concerned that the virus came roaring back in some other cities and countries as they reopened.

“We need to stay ahead of the virus to keep moving forward” into reopening, said de Villa, adding her public health team is actively preparing for a future surge in Toronto infections.

2:10 p.m.: Quebec public health authorities say they are seeing a worrying spike in infections among teens and young adults.

Deputy premier Genevieve Guilbault told a news conference today a significant portion of the daily COVID-19 cases in the province involve people between the ages of 15-34.

Guilbault says despite the fact the COVID-19 situation in Quebec remains under control, young people need to recognize they are not immune from health complications tied to the novel coronavirus.

The minister also says she was shocked to see images of anti-mask protests in Montreal and Quebec City over the weekend, during which protesters accosted journalists and failed to follow health directives.

She says authorities will crack down on protesters who put the health of others at risk.

Health officials today reported 145 additional cases of COVID-19 since Sunday, bringing the total to 58,728. There were no new deaths reported.

Quebec has had a total of 5,667 COVID-19-related deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. There are 200 people in hospital with the disease, including seven in intensive care.

Guilbault said today that even if most young people are less likely to suffer seriously from the disease, “they can be vectors of transmission to more vulnerable people, such as their parents or grandparents.”

1:10 p.m. (updated): Premier Doug Ford says up to $4 billion being provided to municipalities for COVID-19. The one-time funding will help shelters, food banks, public health and transit. It’s unclear yet how much Toronto will get.

Half of the $4 billion in funding will go to transit — $1 billion from Ottawa, one billion from the province.

1 p.m.: The federal government appears to have relaxed restrictions at the Canada-U.S. border that would have made it impossible for first-year university students from the United States to enter the country.

An update to the government’s guidance for international students, quietly posted Friday, now says students coming from the U.S. may no longer need a study permit that was issued on or before March 18 — the day the border restrictions were first announced.

That requirement had the parents of many U.S. freshmen complaining that it would have been impossible for their children to get into the country to begin their studies.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada now says border officers will accept a “port of entry letter of introduction” that shows the student was approved for a study permit, in lieu of a permit approved before March 18.

Other parents in the U.S. remain wary, since the rules require anyone seeking entry to Canada to be travelling for a “non-discretionary or non-optional purpose” — a description that could include students whose courses are happening entirely online.

And the exception appears only to apply to students from the U.S., where cases of COVID-19 have been steadily rising in recent weeks.

The Star’s Nick Keung had the story from last week on the ban for international students.

The Star’s Abhya Adlakha had a story on the challenges that overseas students face taking on-line courses.

12:30 p.m.: An Alberta senator is urging Ottawa to fund a Canadian company so it can develop a domestic COVID-19 vaccine to lessen the risk Canadians will have wait in a line on a foreign-made pandemic cure.

“I really do believe that we need to keep the pressure now on the government of Canada, whom I’m not criticizing. I get that this is an unusual time. And this may be in hand, or it may have fallen through the cracks. But we can’t allow that to happen,” Sen. Doug Black said in an interview Monday.

“I’m not criticizing anybody. But I will be criticizing people if they don’t see this an opportunity to potentially protect Canadians.”

Black was adding his voice to those of numerous health professionals who are questioning why the Trudeau government has yet to make a decision on the $35-million proposal to fund Providence Therapeutics.

Providence has told the government it could deliver five million doses of its new mRNA vaccine by mid-2021 for use in Canada if it were able to successfully complete human testing.

Providence’s chief executive Brad Sorenson told The Canadian Press he has not heard back from the government since late May after his company submitted its proposal in April, and after the government reached out to it as a possible vaccine-maker.

The mRNA technology is new and untested, but Black and others say it has potential.

11:45 a.m.: Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott tweeted that Ontario is reporting 119 new cases on Monday morning. Locally, 30 of the province’s 34 public health units are reporting five or fewer cases, with 16 of them reporting no new cases. Windsor-Essex is reporting 40 new cases with another 28 in Ottawa, she said.

She said that 76 of the latest cases, or 64 per cent, are people under the age of 40. Ontario processed nearly 25,000 tests on Sunday, she said.

The Star’s Rob Ferguson has more details.

11:35 a.m. (updated): Two major league games scheduled for Monday night were postponed as the Miami Marlins deal with a coronavirus outbreak that stranded them in Philadelphia.

The Marlins’ home opener against Baltimore was called off, as was the New York Yankees’ game at Philadelphia. The Yankees would have been in the same clubhouse the Marlins used last weekend.

The Marlins postponed their flight home Sunday night after their series finale against the Phillies.

Major League Baseball announced the cancellation of both games about 7 1/2 hours before the scheduled first pitch, saying additional COVID-19 testing was being conducted. “The members of the Marlins’ travelling party are self-quarantining in place while awaiting the outcome of those results,” MLB said in a statement.

Miami pitcher Jose Urena was scratched from his scheduled start in Sunday’s game, and catcher Jorge Alfaro went on the injured list Friday. No reasons were given for the moves, but manager Don Mattingly said those who tested positive would be quarantined in Philadelphia.

The Marlins’ precarious health raised anew doubts about MLB’s ability to finish the season during a pandemic. In Cincinnati, Reds second baseman Mike Moustakas and centre fielder Nick Senzel felt sick Sunday, a day after a teammate went on the injured list because he tested positive for COVID-19.

11:15 a.m.: Google will keep its employees home until at least next July, making the search-engine giant the first major U.S. corporation to formalize such an extended timetable in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

The move will affect nearly all of the roughly 200,000 full-time and contract employees across Google parent Alphabet Inc., and is sure to pressure other technology giants that have slated staff to return as soon as January.

Alphabet Chief Executive Sundar Pichai made the decision himself last week after debate among Google Leads, an internal group of top executives that he chairs, according to a person familiar with the matter. A small number of Google staffers were notified later in the week, people familiar said.

Pichai was swayed in part by sympathy for employees with families to plan for uncertain school years that may involve at-home instruction, depending on geography. It also frees staff to sign full-year leases elsewhere if they choose to move.

9:20 a.m.: President Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien has tested positive for COVID-19, according to people familiar with his situation.

O’Brien has been out of the office since late last week, one of the people said.

O’Brien came down with the coronavirus after a family event and has been isolating at home while still running the National Security Council, doing most of his work by phone, according to one of the people.

All the people asked not to be named to discuss information that is not yet public.

The White House communications staff didn’t immediately comment.

O’Brien is the closest official to Trump to develop the novel coronavirus, as the pandemic continues to surge with infections and deaths on the rise in many U.S. states.

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O’Brien and senior staff on the NSC are tested daily for COVID-19. His office is down the hall from the Oval Office and from Vice President Mike Pence’s office.

There have been 16.2 million cases of coronavirus since the pandemic began earlier this year, with deaths passing 648,000, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University. In the U.S., there have been more than 4.2 million cases and 146,935 deaths, according to the data.

8:20 a.m.: Police in Brampton say bylaw officers broke up a house party attended by as many as 200 people on Saturday night.

Peel Region police say the partygoers in Brampton were violating provincial emergency orders enacted because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Peel Region remains in Stage 2 of the province’s reopening plan, limiting gatherings to a maximum of 10 people with physical distancing in effect.

Police say they didn’t lay criminal charges, but a spokesperson for the City of Brampton says the organizer was issued a fine of $880 and will also be charged under the public nuisance bylaw.

Const. Kyle Villers of Peel police called the incident “disheartening.”

“It shows the complete disregard for the health and well being of everybody in Brampton,” he told the Brampton Guardian’s Chris Clay. “To have a party with this many people giving the state of the world with COVID-19 is a ripe opportunity for another outbreak.”

8:20 a.m.: Quebecers using public transit will have to wear a mask today as a two-week grace period comes to an end.

Agencies across the province will be able to deny riders access to buses and subways if they aren’t wearing a face-covering.

Since July 13, Quebec has made masks mandatory for anyone riding on public transit, with the only exceptions being those who can’t wear one for health reasons.

The Quebec government said when announcing the measure there would be no fines, but people without a mask would be denied service once the grace period ended.

They said they were counting on Quebecers to be respectful of others, and Montreal-area transit agencies say the overwhelming majority of people have followed the rule.

Quebec has also made masks mandatory in indoor public places since July 18 — a move that has been largely accepted but has also resulted in protests over the past two weekends.

6:05 a.m.: Suggesting a narrower pandemic relief package may be all that’s possible, the White House still pushed ahead with Monday’s planned rollout of the Senate Republicans’ $1 trillion effort as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi assailed the GOP “disarray” as time-wasting during the crisis.

The administration’s chief negotiators — White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin — spent the weekend on Capitol Hill to put what Meadows described as “final touches” on the relief bill Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is expected to bring forward Monday afternoon.

“We’re done,” Mnuchin said as he and Meadows left Capitol Hill on Sunday after meeting with GOP staff.

But looming deadlines may force them to consider other options. By Friday, millions of out-of-work Americans will lose an $600 (U.S.) federal unemployment benefit that is expiring and federal eviction protections for many renters are also coming to an end. President Donald Trump’s standing is at one of the lowest points of his term, according to a new AP-NORC poll.

“They’re in disarray and that delay is causing suffering for America’s families,” Pelosi said.

6 a.m.: Muslim pilgrims have started arriving in Mecca for a drastically scaled-down hajj as Saudi authorities balance the kingdom’s oversight of one of Islam’s key pillars and the safety of visitors in the face of a global pandemic.

The hajj, which begins on Wednesday, normally draws around 2.5 million people for five intense days of worship in one of the world’s largest gatherings of people from around the world.

This year, Saudi Arabia’s Hajj Ministry has said between 1,000 and 10,000 people already residing in the kingdom will be allowed to perform the pilgrimage. Two-thirds of those pilgrims will be from among foreign residents in Saudi Arabia and one-third will be Saudi citizens.

5:09 a.m. Mitsubishi Motors Corp. reported Monday a $1.7 billion (U.S.) loss for April-June, and forecast more red ink for the fiscal year, as the coronavirus pandemic slammed auto demand around the world.

The maker of the Outlander sport utility vehicle and I-MiEV electric car expects to chalk up a $3.4 billion (U.S.) loss for the fiscal year through March 2021, because of the fallout from the outbreak.

The shaky results come as Mitsubishi Motors’ alliance partners Nissan Motor Co. and Renault of France work to recover from the downfall of their former chairman, Carlos Ghosn.

Ghosn was out on bail, awaiting trial on various financial misconduct allegations in Tokyo, when he fled late last year to Lebanon. He has said he is innocent of the allegations of under-reporting future compensation and breach of trust.

Mitsubishi Motors has denounced Ghosn.

5 a.m. Global stock markets were mixed and gold surged to a record price Monday amid U.S.-China tension and concern a recovery from the coronavirus pandemic might be weakening.

London, Tokyo and Hong Kong declined while Frankfurt and Shanghai advanced. U.S. stock futures were higher.

Wall Street ended last week down after a new diplomatic flare-up between Washington and Beijing and mixed earnings reports.

Global markets have regained most of this year’s losses but forecasters warn the rebound might be too big and too early as virus case numbers rise in the United States and some other economies.

Weak stock prices “speak volumes of soured risk appetite amid escalating U.S.-China risks, worsening virus outbreaks and a flagging recovery,” said Hayaki Narita of Mizuho Bank in a report.

4:58 a.m.: Indonesia announced Monday that its confirmed number of coronavirus cases has surpassed 100,000, the most in Southeast Asia, as an official said the government still doesn’t know when the outbreak will peak.

The health ministry announced 1,525 more cases on Monday, bringing the country’s confirmed total to 100,303. The actual number is thought to be considerably higher because of factors including limited testing.

The ministry also reported 57 more deaths, bringing the death toll to 4,838.

4:01 a.m.: The number of kids in child-care centres is allowed to increase across Ontario today as the province continues its gradual reopening.

The Ministry of Education had previously limited the number of people per room in a daycare to 10 in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Sunday 5 p.m. As of late Sunday, Ontario’s regional health units are reporting a total of 40,723 confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19, including 2,798 deaths, up 104 cases in 24 hours.

As has been the case in recent days, the new infections reported Sunday were predominantly among younger patients; the makeup of the province’s epidemic has shifted since the spring.

In mid-April, during the province’s first peak in daily infections, most reported cases were among patients over 60, a spike that coincided with a series of devastating outbreaks in Ontario nursing homes. But relatively fewer seniors have been infected since, and in July the majority of new infections have been reported among patients under age 40.

Sunday once again saw significant numbers of new cases reported in Ottawa — 26 new infections — and Windsor-Essex — 24 cases. Both health units have seen notable jumps in cases in July.

Toronto, meanwhile reported 26 cases and all four of the province’s new deaths Sunday.

Despite still regularly reporting among the most daily infections of any health unit, cases have fallen sharply on average in the city. Over the last week, Toronto saw an average of 29 new cases reported each day; well down from the peak rate of 230 cases daily, seen over seven days in late May.

The Star’s count includes some patients reported as “probable” COVID-19 cases, meaning they have symptoms and contacts or travel history that indicate they very likely have the disease, but have not yet received a positive lab test.

The province also cautions its data, published daily at 10:30 a.m., may be incomplete or out of date due to delays in the reporting system, saying that in the event of a discrepancy, “data reported by (the health units) should be considered the most up to date.”

Read Sunday’s rolling file



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Paintball and obstacle course businesses may supervise students learning online

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Some students may bounce back into school work this fall in unexpected locations — trampoline parks and laser tag courses.

With some parents increasingly nervous about sending their children to school during the COVID-19 pandemic, some enterprising businesses with warehouse-sized spaces are offering an unconventional alternative.

Rachael McIntosh, marketing co-ordinator for Calgary’s InjaNation, said the business is exploring the idea of supervising students during school days when classes resume in September.

Parents could return to work, children would be exposed to much smaller groups of people and the kids could burn off energy in the 55,000-square-foot facility’s trampoline park and obstacle courses, she said.

“The whole idea of this is to offer a safe option to parents who need it,” she said. “It’s not to make money. It’s not to go against the school.”

Students would register in the distance learning option at their usual school, then bring a laptop or portable device to InjaNation, she said. There, staff would supervise them and tutors would come in to help with any questions they have about their online lessons.

If they follow the model used for summer camps, the business would group the kids into cohorts of nine and keep the groups separate, she said. It would give children the opportunity to socialize in a larger space.

Although the company is still sorting out the details, McIntosh said they’re looking at charging between $1,000 and $1,200 a month per student.

Laser City, which runs spacious laser tag and paintball facilities in Edmonton and Calgary, is considering a similar offering, co-owner Rob Davy said on Tuesday.

Through trade associations, he saw similar businesses in the U.S. offering the service. Some schools in that country resume classes in August.

Davy said his 17,000-square-foot locations could accommodate about 30 elementary students on weekdays. After talking to parents who enrolled their children in online summer camps with Laser City, Davy said many feel unsafe sending their children back to school while COVID-19 continues to spread.

“We’re not at all pretending that we are teachers,” he said. “We’re not trying to replace the teachers or anything like that. We are trying to give the assistance that parents would be giving.”

Davy said students would have to be registered in online learning with their usual school. The business does not want public schools to lose any funding, he said.

Parents also tell him they think their children will be more co-operative with online learning when someone else is supervising them.

Programs not endorsed by Alberta Education

Advocacy group Support Our Students Alberta (SOS) brought attention to the phenomenon of private school supervision by posting some program advertisements on social media on Monday.

Colin Aitchison, press secretary to Education Minister Adriana LaGrange, said businesses offering alternative locations for students to participate in online learning are not endorsed by Alberta Education.

“Public, separate, independent and charter schools are required to follow our robust school re-entry plan and its accompanying public health guidelines, and we would encourage parents to have their students either attend Alberta schools in person or participate in their distance learning programs from a safe learning environment that parents have confidence in, such as their homes,” Aitchison said in a Tuesday statement.

NDP education critic Sarah Hoffman said she’s unsurprised businesses are being innovative to offer options as parents balance their careers with concerns about their children’s safety.

She said the offerings prove there are spaces available, in businesses, libraries, churches and community centres, that the government could use to better space out students and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“Why don’t we actually take the little thread of what they’re offering, which is more safety and abiding by what are currently the recommendations of the chief medical officer of health, and find ways to make that accessible for all students, not just those whose parents have thousands of dollars that they can afford to pay every month,” Hoffman said.

Mock classroom shows challenge of distancing

On Tuesday, Hoffman held a press conference in Edmonton’s Federal Building, where the Opposition created a mock classroom to demonstrate the challenges of physically distancing students in schools.

Education critic Sarah Hoffman staged this demonstration, showing what classrooms could look like in the fall if classes are not capped. 1:41

Provincial standards say new classrooms should be built with 80 square metres of usable space to accommodate students and furniture. With desks and tables for 30 students arranged in a taped-off area, the desks were less than one metre apart.

Public health guidelines say people should stay at least two metres away from others to prevent spreading COVID-19.

The UCP government has allotted $10 million for reusable masks, hand sanitizer and other protective equipment for schools. School boards should use savings in reserves to pay for any additional needs to adapt to the pandemic, the education minister has said.

The government has said its school re-opening plan is endorsed by Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw and the College of Alberta School Superintendents.

Aitchison called the NDP’s mock classroom a “stunt” and said the Opposition’s competing school plan is unfeasible.

Class sizes in Alberta have risen steadily during the last 15 years. Some teachers report 40 or more students in some of their core high school classes.

A mock up classroom put together by the Opposition NDP shows desks for 30 students in an 80 square metre classroom are less than a metre apart. The mock classroom did not include shelves, a teacher’s desk or other furniture. Public health recommendations say people should stay at least two metres apart to prevent transmission of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. (Nathan Gross/CBC)

Edmonton junior high teacher Renee Englot said she has 35 students registered in her Grade 9 class next year, and her room is smaller than 80 square metres.

“I worry that students and parents and members of the public in general may have a false impression of what school’s going to look like in September because the government keeps using the term physical distancing,” she said. “It is impossible to physically distance in a classroom without a cap on class size.”

Heather Quinn, president of Edmonton Public Teachers local 37, also called on the government to invest more money into re-opening schools. Class sizes should be capped for student and staff safety, and boards need more money to pay more teachers, caretakers and buy protective equipment and cleaning supplies, she said.

“COVID-19 is a public health problem in public education that requires a public solution,” she said.



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COVID-19 on P.E.I.: What’s happening Tuesday, Aug. 11

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Health PEI is hiring additional staff for multiple health-care service roles in preparation of a second wave of COVID-19. 

Harness racing fans on P.E.I. are being warned not to make plans to attend the annual Gold Cup and Saucer race this year in person, unless they have a reservation. 

MLAs on P.E.I.’s standing committee on education and economic growth want top education officials to answer some questions about the province’s back-to-school plan.

The Atlantic bubble has given tourism operators on P.E.I. a much-needed boost, Tourism Minister Matthew MacKay said in an interview with CBC News: Compass host Louise Martin.

Post-secondary students from outside the Atlantic bubble have begun arriving on P.E.I., and Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison has outlined some of the details for ensuring their safe arrival.

Health PEI chief of nursing Marion Dowling says P.E.I. is catching up on elective surgeries postponed in the early weeks of the pandemic.

Morrison and Dowling were speaking at the regular weekly provincial pandemic briefing.

P.E.I. rugby player Ellen Murphy says she is excited to get back to training with other players as part of the Charlottetown Rugby Football Club. (Tony Davis/CBC)

Initial COVID-19 tests on Canadian Premier League soccer participants in Charlottetown have all come back negative.

About 300 professional soccer players, coaches and staff are preparing for a season in a way they’ve never done before, but so far, they say it’s better than they imagined.

Rugby is returning to P.E.I. fields, but there are some rule changes.

There may be the odd mistake and some tough transitions as students and staff adjust to the back-to-school plan, but life at P.E.I. schools should be fine in time as rules become routine, according to some student council presidents.

The Island has no active cases of COVID-19. The province has reported a total of 36 cases, with no deaths or hospitalizations.

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

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Doctor killed in Red Deer attack was targeted by assailant, RCMP say

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A Red Deer doctor who died after he was attacked at his walk-in clinic on Monday was deliberately targeted, say RCMP, who have laid a first-degree murder charge in the case.

Dr. Walter Reynolds died in hospital after he was assaulted with a weapon at the Village Mall Walk-in Clinic where he practised.

Deng Mabiour, 54, has been charged with first-degree murder, assault with a weapon and assault. 

“This was not a random attack and was targeted,” Supt.Gerald Grobmeier, detachment commander of the Red Deer RCMP, said at a news conference on Tuesday. 

Grobmeier said police have learned the motive behind the attack but those details won’t be released until the case works it way through the courts.  ​​​

He said the victim and accused knew each other through the clinic but declined to reveal further details on their relationship citing doctor patient privilege.

“Through the charge of first-degree murder, it means it was premeditated,” he said.

“The individual went in a with a goal, and so it wasn’t a random attack. The individual went into the clinic for that purpose.”

A witness to the attack told CBC News that a man armed with a hammer and machete attacked the doctor inside an examination room.

Mabiour has been remanded in custody and is due back in Red Deer provincial court on Wednesday. He has no previous criminal record.

An officer suffered minor injuries in the attack, Grobmeier said. Many first responders who were at the scene on Monday are struggling with the emotional toll of the tragedy, he said. 

“I want to recognize the many individuals who demonstrated bravery yesterday,” he said. “Dr. Reynolds colleagues, as well as members of the public in the clinic acted quickly to come to the aid of the victim and to minimize harm to others.”

‘An unimaginable, horrific act of violence’ 

Reynolds, 45, is being remembered by friends and colleagues as a devoted husband and a loving father.

An online fundraiser established for the family described Reynolds as a loving husband and amazing father to two young daughters. 

“An unimaginable, horrific act of violence took him away from his loving family,” reads the GoFundMe page. 

“His friends, colleagues and community mourns an exceptional human being lost too soon. We all are devastated and heartbroken.”

Funds raised by the campaign will support his daughters’ education, the page said. 

Meanwhile, a candlelight vigil is being planned for Friday at Red Deer City Hall. It will take place in the flower gardens at 7 p.m. 

Grobmeier commended the first responders and urged witnesses to reach out for mental-health support if they need it.

“Our community is reeling from this tragic event,” he said. “We have some police officers who are struggling with the event yesterday. This is a difficult time … grieving is going to be important, whether you knew the victim or not.” 

Reynolds’s death has sent shock waves through the Alberta medical community, Red Deer physician Dr. Peter Bouch said in an interview Tuesday. 

“It’s utter shock and horror,” Bouch said. 

“Every emotion goes through you, that such a thing could happen to a physician in their clinic while seeing a patient.

“I think all of us today are in the same mindset. Why did this happen and what can we do to try and prevent this in the future?”

Bouch, who has practised in Red Deer for more than two decades, knew Reynolds as a friend and colleague. 

They often crossed paths in the central Alberta community’s tight-knit network of doctors. 

Reynolds was a young father with an active family. 

Both men originally hailed from South Africa. Both shared a passion for medicine.

“He was a family man and an all-around very friendly, great guy,” Bouch said. 

“He was an excellent doctor. You know, he really cared about his patients. He was a great doctor and a great family man.”

Doctors struggle to make sense of tragedy 

Bouch, who serves as a spokesperson for Red Deer Primary Care Network, said the tragedy has created fear in the medical community.

Doctors, already dealing with the pressures of the pandemic, are feeling anxious. 

He said he received dozens of calls Monday night from physicians struggling to make sense of the tragedy.

Bouch hopes counselling is made available to those who need it. 

“This just adds another layer of stress,” he said. “And all of this stress combines to affect every family physician in town here, especially those who were working closely with him. 

“I think it’s beyond words what they’re going through.” 

Bouch wonders if it will change the way many doctors in the community serve their patients in the future. 

All physicians are trained to deal with difficult patients, but when they come wielding a weapon, no one can prepare for that, he said. He expects to see clinics adopt more safety protocols.

“I really hope that it would not pull away from the doctor-patient relationship … but we’re going to have to be on guard and a lot more vigilant about the people coming into our clinic.

“It’s going to take a while to find the impact that this is going to have on the physician community … it’s yet to be seen exactly what that is.”

Premier Jason Kenney and Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro both tweeted Monday that they were saddened to hear about the fatal attack on the doctor.

In a news conference Tuesday, Kenney commended the police who responded to the attack and offered condolences to the family. 

“I know hearts and minds go out to the family and the loved ones and the co-workers of that physician,” Kenney said.

“I want to commend the police for having responded quickly and alertly to that attack and preventing any other violence, any other victims of that person. By all accounts, the person appears to have been deranged.

“We will obviously wait for further reports from police in the region but it is a tragic expression of violent crime.” 

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