COVID-19 Update: Canada signs deal for potential vaccine | How schools are preparing across Canada

Specimens to be tested for COVID-19 are seen at a LifeLabs laboratory in Surrey, B.C., on March 26, 2020. The federal government has signed a deal with a third vaccine developer to get access to their experimental COVID-19 vaccine as early as next spring.

With news on COVID-19 happening rapidly, we’ve created this page to bring you our latest stories and information on the outbreak in and around Calgary.

What’s happening now

Canada signs deal with Novovax to get 76 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine

 Specimens to be tested for COVID-19 are seen at a LifeLabs laboratory in Surrey, B.C., on March 26, 2020. The federal government has signed a deal with a third vaccine developer to get access to their experimental COVID-19 vaccine as early as next spring.

The federal government has a deal with a third vaccine developer to get access to an experimental COVID-19 vaccine as early as next spring.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is in Montreal this morning where he is set to announce details of the agreement with Maryland-based biotechnology company Novovax.

The contract promises to secure for Canadians 76 million doses of Novovax’s vaccine, which is currently in preliminary trials in the United States and Australia.

Read more.

From masks to cohorting, a guide to back-to-school rules across the country

 Signs are posted to direct traffic in a corridor in Henry Wise Wood High School on Friday, Aug. 28.

Plans are being made across the country for how to safely send students back to school in the fall as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Here is a look at what the various provinces have said about getting kids back to classes.

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Investigation links three COVID-19 cases to unit in western Manitoba hospital

 A billboard advertises information about COVID-19 in Winnipeg on Aug. 28.

Three cases of COVID-19 in western Manitoba have been linked to a hospital in Brandon, provincial health officials say.

The Manitoba government says all three of the cases in the Prairie Mountain Health region had been previously identified, and that investigations into them led to a unit on the second floor of the Brandon Regional Health Centre.

A spokesman for the health region says the affected unit is the Assiniboine Centre, which provides care to rehabilitation patients and patients with other longer term stays.

Read more.

Quebec reports 120 new COVID-19 cases and three additional deaths

 A woman wears a face mask as she sits outside a clothing store in Montreal on Saturday, Aug. 22.

Quebec is reporting 120 new cases of COVID-19 and three additional deaths.

Public health officials say the deaths took place between Aug. 23 and 28.

The province has now reported 62,352 cases of COVID-19 and 5,758 deaths since the pandemic began. The number of hospitalizations went down by one over the past 24 hours, for a total of 116. Of that, 16 people are in intensive care, a decrease of one from the previous day.

The province says it carried out 13,543 COVID-19 tests on Friday, the last date for which the testing data is available.

Here are the latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 6 a.m. MDT on Aug. 31:

  • There are 127,940 confirmed cases in Canada, including 9,117 deaths and 113,664 resolved.
  • Quebec: 62,352 confirmed (including 5,758 deaths, 55,300 resolved)
  • Ontario: 42,195 confirmed (including 2,810 deaths, 38,204 resolved)
  • Alberta: 13,476 confirmed (including 237 deaths, 12,054 resolved)
  • British Columbia: 5,496 confirmed (including 204 deaths, 4,310 resolved)
  • Saskatchewan: 1,615 confirmed (including 24 deaths, 1,549 resolved)
  • Manitoba: 1,186 confirmed (including 14 deaths, 710 resolved)
  • Nova Scotia: 1,083 confirmed (including 65 deaths, 1,013 resolved)
  • Newfoundland and Labrador: 269 confirmed (including 3 deaths, 265 resolved)
  • New Brunswick: 191 confirmed (including 2 deaths, 185 resolved)
  • Prince Edward Island: 44 confirmed (including 41 resolved)
  • Yukon: 15 confirmed (including 15 resolved)
  • Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved)
  • Northwest Territories: 5 confirmed (including 5 resolved)
  • Nunavut: No confirmed cases

Artwork, pandemic law and politics: Ontario universities to include COVID-19 courses in fall curriculum

 Ada Slaight Chair of Contemporary Drawing and Painting at OCAD University Ilene Sova poses for a photo behind the university, which will remain closed and transition to online classes in September, in Toronto, Saturday, Aug. 29.

Back in early March, as Ontario’s colleges and universities scrambled to prepare for government shut-down orders amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Ilene Sova packed up as many art supplies as she could in anticipation of the months of isolation that would follow.

Sova, an instructor at OCAD University in Toronto, said art was her only remedy as the world became more distant and uncertain times emerged.

She would later turn her home office into a makeshift art studio and begin her creative process, but one thing she could not shake off was the thought of her students going through similar emotions.

That’s when the idea to create a course in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic was born, and Sova approached the school with her plans.


Banff bud weathers mellow tourism season

With its stunning scenic vistas and trails where cannabis can be legally consumed, Banff National Park is considered a peak buzz zone by those who partake and a prestige locale for their suppliers.

But this summer’s tourist buzz has been partially muted by COVID-19’s disruption of international travel, while many of the foreign workers who normally flock to Banff returned to their homelands last spring.

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U.S. coronavirus cases near 6 million as Midwest, schools face outbreaks

 NEW YORK, NEW YORK – AUGUST 25: A sign directs students at New York University (NYU) outside of a COVID-19 test outside of its business school on August 25, 2020 in New York City. All students arriving back to the campus are required to get tested for the virus upon arrival, students will then have to be tested again seven to 10 days later.

U.S. cases of the novel coronavirus were approaching 6 million on Sunday as many states in the Midwest reported increasing infections, according to a Reuters tally.

Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota have recently reported record one-day increases in new cases while Montana and Idaho are seeing record numbers of currently hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

Nationally, metrics on new cases, deaths, hospitalizations and the positivity rates of tests are all declining, but there are emerging hotspots in the Midwest.

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Police break up forest rave in England amid COVID-19 clampdown

 Equipment is seen at Thetford Forest after police shut down a suspected illegal rave, in Norfolk, Britain, August 30, 2020.

THETFORD FOREST — Police broke up an overnight illegal rave in a forest in eastern England on Sunday, days after the British government introduced tougher measures to target “serious breaches” of COVID-19 restrictions, including 10,000-pound ($13,000) fines.

Dozens of officers, some holding protective shields, faced off with the revelers in Thetford Forest but despite a few scuffles, the party was largely dispersed peacefully. There did not appear to have been any arrests and the police dismantled the sound system.

Before a three-day bank holiday weekend, the government had said “those facilitating or organizing illegal raves, unlicensed music events, or any other unlawful gathering of more than 30 people may face a 10,000-pound fine.”

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Recent spike in COVID-19, so Manitoba reworks six-figure ad campaign

 A billboard related to the COVID-19 pandemic from the Manitoba government is shown in Winnipeg on Friday Aug. 28, 2020. The government has reworked its pandemic advertising campaign following a rise in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks.

WINNIPEG — Manitoba’s COVID-19 numbers were once the envy of most other provinces, but there have been several outbreaks in recent weeks, and the government is having to alter its six-figure ad campaign.

The campaign, once focused on economic recovery, is becoming more about health precautions.

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Federal education funding still in limbo days before Alberta back-to-school

 Hand sanitizers have been provided in the common areas in Henry Wise Wood High School on Friday, August 28, 2020. Azin Ghaffari/Postmedia

There is still no timeline for when school authorities will be able to access Alberta’s share of the $2 billion in federal funding pledged last week to support provincial school reopening plans.

The Alberta government said it had not yet received any of

its $262.8 million cut of the funding announced Tuesday

by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, with school districts in the province only days away from welcoming back students for the fall semester amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Given that the funding was suddenly announced on Tuesday, officials are still working out details on how this funding will be distributed to Alberta’s school authorities,” said Colin Aitchison, press secretary to Education Minister Adriana LaGrange, in a statement.

“At this point I cannot give a timeline as we have not received the funding from the Federal Government yet.”

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Calgary chicken processing plant will remain open after COVID-19 outbreak

 Multiple workers have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Lilydale poultry plant in southeast Calgary.

The Sofina Foods/Lilydale poultry processing plant in Calgary will remain open despite a growing COVID-19 outbreak.

An Alberta Health official said Friday there had been 19 cases of the virus with 18 of them still considered active.

But an official with the company said the number is now higher than that.

“Alberta Health Services (AHS) confirmed that, after we encouraged all our employees to take a second test, 9 additional individuals tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. This brings our total to 27 employees, all from the same shift,” said spokesperson Daniele Dufour said in an email to The Canadian Press.

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Two Canadian Forces members test positive for COVID-19

 A Canadian flag sits on a members of Canadian forces that are leaving from CFB Trenton, in Trenton, Ont., on October 16, 2014.

Two members of the Canadian military who recently flew back to Canada from the Middle East have tested positive for COVID-19, the Defence Department said Saturday.

In a statement, the department said the Canadian Armed Forces members were aboard a flight bringing 35 personnel from Operation IMPACT, a Middle East training mission, back to Canada.

“While all COVID-19 health and safety protocols and precautions were observed before, during, and after the flight, there does remain a risk for deployed personnel,” the statement read.

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