The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada for Aug. 9

COVID-19: latest numbers

The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 11:47 a.m. ET on Aug. 9, 2020:

There are 119,404 confirmed cases in Canada.

_ Quebec: 60,471 confirmed (including 5,695 deaths, 50,886 resolved)

_ Ontario: 40,046 confirmed (including 2,786 deaths, 36,279 resolved)

_ Alberta: 11,430 confirmed (including 208 deaths, 10,097 resolved)

_ British Columbia: 3,934 confirmed (including 195 deaths, 3,353 resolved)

_ Saskatchewan: 1,433 confirmed (including 20 deaths, 1,245 resolved)

_ Nova Scotia: 1,071 confirmed (including 64 deaths, 1,006 resolved)

_ Manitoba: 492 confirmed (including 8 deaths, 351 resolved), 15 presumptive

_ Newfoundland and Labrador: 267 confirmed (including 3 deaths, 263 resolved)

_ New Brunswick: 176 confirmed (including 2 deaths, 168 resolved)

_ Prince Edward Island: 36 confirmed (including 36 resolved)

_ Yukon: 15 confirmed (including 13 resolved)

_ Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved)

_ Northwest Territories: 5 confirmed (including 5 resolved)

_ Nunavut: No confirmed cases

_ Total: 119,404 (15 presumptive, 119,389 confirmed including 8,981 deaths, 103,715 resolved)


Parents, teachers press Quebec to revise back-to-school plan amid COVID-19

Revise back-to-school plan?

For Politimi Karounis, August is usually spent buying new backpacks, pencils and notebooks for her two elementary school-aged children as they excitedly prepare to reunite with friends and teachers.

But this year, only weeks away from the first day of classes, Karounis said a sense of uncertainty prevails in her household around Quebec's plan to reopen all schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"There is no perfect decision, but as a government, make a call, acknowledge peoples' anxiety, acknowledge parents, and say: 'Listen, we hear you, here's what we're going to do,'" Karounis, who lives in Montreal's west end, said in a recent interview.

Karounis is among scores of parents across Quebec who are voicing their concerns around the government's intention for all students from pre-school through Grade 9 to physically return to classrooms at the end of the month.

She and other parents want schools to offer an option for remote learning, such as online courses. Others are asking for smaller class sizes, additional safeguards to prevent a COVID-19 outbreak, and more details about Quebec's plan should an outbreak occur.

A petition asking the government to revise its plan had garnered more than 16,700 signatures by Saturday afternoon.

Under Quebec's back-to-school strategy, which was unveiled in June and is expected to be updated this week, students across the province will physically go back to school full-time from pre-school to Grade 9.

The students will be divided into in-class bubbles of six, and each bubble will need to stay one metre apart from each other. Teachers will move between classrooms and maintain a two-metre distance from students.

For students in Grades 10 and 11, the current plan offers them the choice to go back full-time, or attend classes in-person one day out of two. School boards will be responsible for creating contingency measures should a COVID-19 outbreak occur.

Education Minister Jean-Francois Roberge said Aug. 6 he was working with Quebec's public health director, Dr. Horacio Arruda, and Health Minister Christian Dube to update the province's plan. He is expected to hold a news conference early this week to reveal details.

Anxious parents and teachers say they expect Roberge to offer clear guidelines governing how schools will address COVID-19 outbreaks. They are also looking for the government to address the issue of mask-wearing inside school buildings.

Marwah Rizqy, Opposition education critic with the Liberals, sent more than two dozen questions to Arruda in a public letter dated Aug. 3.

"Is the mask mandatory? Are you going to test all the kids if you have only one case, or you're only going to test the kids from the same bubble?" Rizqy said in a recent interview, about some of the outstanding questions that parents, teachers and lawmakers have.

"I think parents have the right to know how they're going to manage if there's COVID-19 inside the school. I think they have the right to know if there is a real health emergency protocol."

Heidi Yetman, president of the Quebec Provincial Association of Teachers, which represents 8,000 teachers at English-language school boards in the province, said her members are anxious because they feel like they can't adequately prepare for their students' return.

The government closed elementary and high schools across Quebec in March when the pandemic began. High schools remained shuttered through the school year, while elementary classes outside the Montreal area reopened in May.

"There's this feeling in the air that we're heading towards this big storm," Yetman said in a recent interview. She said a major concern is the government's plan to bring 100 per cent of students up to grade 9 back at once.

"If we cram 36 students (into a class), even with the bubbles and the distancing ... we're going to have more (COVID-19) cases, absolutely, and we're going to have closures," she said.

High schools should remain at 50 per cent capacity, using alternating schedules, Yetman said. A six-student bubble may look good on paper but that system "would be very, very difficult to manage," she added.

Yetman said the province should make masks mandatory for students aged 12 and up, provide additional cleaning supplies and portable hand-washing stations, and fund more mental health support services.

Quebec should also create a province-wide protocol in the case of COVID-19 outbreaks, and push the school start date after Labour Day to give teachers more time to prepare, Yetman said.

Julius Grey, a Montreal-based constitutional lawyer, said the province could face a lawsuit if it doesn't allow schools to offer remote learning.

Grey sent a letter on behalf of Karounis and three other parents to the government on Aug. 5, demanding a remote learning option and arguing the physical attendance requirement violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

"There should be an alternative provided of remaining registered in the school and getting assistance from the school without physically going there," Grey said in a recent interview.

Karounis said she plans to keep her children at home because her mother, who often takes care of them, is immunocompromised and more susceptible to contracting COVID-19.

She said she hopes the education minister will listen to parents' concerns and provide them with a distance learning option.

"We're hopeful that the minister is going to take our concerns into consideration when elaborating the new plan," Karounis said.

Black Nova Scotia man 'overjoyed' as struggle for land title moves forward

'Overjoyed' for land title

Christopher Downey finished building his home in 2002 on a parcel of land in North Preston, N.S., that has been in his family for generations.

But it was only in late July that Downey says he found out the province intends to issue him a certificate of claim to the land upon which his house was built — the first step in his years-long fight for title.

"It’s been a long journey, but the truth always prevails, and I think it came down to just the government doing the right thing," the 66-year-old said in a recent interview.

Downey is among scores of African Nova Scotians who have struggled for years to have their title claims recognized. But now, after he won his case in Nova Scotia Supreme Court, the province says it is going to make it easier for Black Nova Scotians to settle land claims.

The problem dates back to the 1800s when the Nova Scotia government distributed land to white and Black Loyalists — people who stayed loyal to the British Crown and moved to Canada following the American Revolution.

Downey said his ancestors fought alongside the British in the War of 1812 on the promise they would be granted land in what is now North Preston.

Yet while white settlers received title to fertile ground in present-day Nova Scotia, their Black counterparts were allowed to use and occupy the lands they were given, but were not granted legal title.

In 1963, Nova Scotia passed what is now known as the Land Titles Clarification Act, which aimed to provide African Nova Scotians with a pathway to legal ownership of lands that in many cases had been in their families for decades.

The act applies to 13 predominantly Black communities, including Cherry Brooke, East Preston and North Preston, all on the outskirts of Halifax. But lawyers, human rights advocates and African Nova Scotian communities have long complained of a burdensome, costly and time-consuming process to apply for title.

Downey took his case to the Nova Scotia Supreme Court, which last month ordered the government to reassess his application for a certificate of claim after it was rejected on the basis the father of four could not prove he had lived on the land for 20 consecutive years.

The court said the government was unreasonable in applying that standard, known as adverse possession, in Downey’s case. Downey's great-grandfather, Peter Beals, and wife, Heidi, settled on the land in 1913, the ruling states.

"African Nova Scotians have been subjected to racism for hundreds of years in this province," Justice Jamie Campbell wrote in the decision. "That has real implications for things like land ownership. Residents in African Nova Scotian communities are more likely to have unclear title to land on which they may have lived for many generations."

Downey said he and his wife, Christselina, were "overjoyed" by the court's decision. "The impact is tremendous ... With this case, we feel that now it will open the door for most of the residents in this community to actually obtain their certificate of claim," he said.

Scott Campbell, the lawyer who represented Downey at the Supreme Court, said the minister of lands and forestry will issue Downey a certificate of claim "subject to the resolution of any outstanding liens," or any debts that have been registered against the land.

"While we're not there yet, this is a significant step forward and we appreciate the minister's efforts in this regard," Campbell said in an Aug. 4 email.

Lisa Jarrett, spokeswoman for the Department of Lands and Forestry, told The Canadian Press in a July email the province had accepted the Supreme Court's decision in Downey's case and was working to quickly change its adverse possession policy. Jarrett later confirmed on Aug. 5 the government was finalizing Downey's certificate of claim.

The province is looking at whether the 20-years adverse possession test affected other applicants, but Jarrett did not say how many people could have been impacted. Nova Scotia has received over 360 land claims to date, she said, and the owners of 130 parcels of land have received title.

"We will continue to look for ways to streamline this process and remove barriers wherever possible," Jarrett said.

Campbell said the government indicated in court it had applied the 20-years adverse possession test since at least 2015 — meaning many families may have had their claims denied on that basis. He said he hoped the court's ruling would push Nova Scotia to engage with historical experts and Black community members to better understand how to implement the 1963 Land Titles Clarification Act.

"With all of that information, my hope is that it will provide the minister and his department with a framework by which they can more appropriately and fairly assess applications," Campbell said.

Downey said while his certificate of claim is nearly approved, he and his family still have several steps ahead of them before they can get ownership of the land.

After a certificate of claim is issued, a notice must be posted to allow anyone wishing to make their own claim to the land to come forward. If there are no competing claims, then a certificate of title can be issued.

But Downey said his case shows the government can — and should — recognize the land claims of African Nova Scotians.

"It would have been nice to have it corrected years ago, but it can be done," said Downey." It’s not a long process. It can be done within days, minutes, and they proved that it can be done without waiting years and years."

"People have actually died waiting, so it doesn't have to come to that."


No winning ticket for Saturday night's $11 million Lotto 649 jackpot

No winner for $11M Lotto

No winning ticket was sold for the $11 million jackpot in Saturday night's Lotto 649 draw.

However, the guaranteed $1 million prize went to a lottery player in Ontario.

The jackpot for the next Lotto 649 draw on Aug. 12 will be approximately $14 million.

University of Victoria and women's rowing coach sued over alleged verbal abuse

UVic and rowing coach sued

A former member of the University of Victoria's varsity women's rowing team is suing the head coach and the university over allegations of demeaning and aggressive treatment.

A statement of claim filed in B.C. Supreme Court on July 3 alleges Lily Copeland was subjected to offensive and belittling language and "fat shaming" by Barney Williams while she was a coxswain with the team during the 2018-2019 season.

The lawsuit says Williams "created a hostile training environment," singled out Copeland in public and in front of teammates, criticized her weight and berated her in a small, locked room.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

In an email to The Canadian Press, Williams declined to comment on the lawsuit.

But he wrote that he is "committed to creating a healthy and rewarding environment" for every member of the varsity women's rowing team and that he is "actively evolving" his style.

The University of Victoria said in a statement that it is aware of the lawsuit, but it has not yet been served, and the school does not comment on matters before the courts.

"The university strives to provide a supportive and safe environment for all its students and takes allegations of behaviour contrary to the university's policies seriously," said media relations director Denise Helm in an email.

The lawsuit says the rowing team's practice site had a heated storage structure referred to as the "sauna" and Williams would lock Copeland inside with him three to five times a week, standing close to her and speaking aggressively, which caused her to feel physically threatened.

As a result of the so-called "sauna episodes," the lawsuit says Copeland was often late or missed academic classes, while the team's assistant coach took steps to comfort and shield her.

It says Sam Heran often waited outside the door of the locked room and tried to minimize Copeland's contact with Williams by escorting her away from practices.

The lawsuit says Copeland suffered injuries including stress-induced physiological symptoms, headaches, lost confidence and self-esteem as a result of the misconduct.

It also claims that actions, omissions and policy decisions by the University of Victoria caused or contributed to the misconduct, including failing to provide Copeland with safe environments for learning, training and competition.

It says the school failed to train or supervise Williams properly, failed to adopt appropriate coaching standards for varsity athletes and failed to take timely and adequate steps when Copeland complained informally to the associate director of sport in October 2018.

Copeland later made a formal complaint through the university's equity and human rights office and the lawsuit says at least two other team members had also complained about Williams.

The school hired an adjudicator last year who found his behaviour didn't breach the campus-wide discrimination and harassment policy, which had no language specific to sports.

Rowing Canada is currently conducting an investigation into Williams, who continues to coach.

The university is expected to implement a new code for coaches with a focus on safe sport guidelines this year and it says improvements to the complaint process for varsity athletes are also on the way.

Helm said in her email that when there are allegations of behaviour contrary to university policies, there are impartial and independent processes in place to resolve and provide accountability.

Copeland told Williams that she was scared of him and their interactions had significantly aggravated her mental health challenges during a mid-season meeting in December 2018, the lawsuit says, claiming Williams responded by telling her to "toughen up."

The statement of claim says that as Copeland's head coach, Williams owed her a duty of care for her well-being not only as an athlete but also as a student.

It says Williams was grossly negligent by failing to provide adequate medical care when he was made aware of Copeland's mental health struggles.

Two dead in Man. after RCMP believe tornado threw vehicle into field

Tornado kills two

RCMP say a man and a woman are dead after a tornado touched down at a farm in western Manitoba on Friday evening and carried a vehicle they were believed to have been in over a kilometre.

A man who was in a second vehicle that was also thrown has survived with serious injuries.

Police say they arrived at the farm near Highway 83 south of Virden shortly after 8 p.m., local time. They say the property was extensively damaged and two vehicles had been thrown into a nearby field.

A search of the first vehicle, found closer to the highway, located a 54-year-old man from the Sioux Valley Dakota First Nation, who was taken to hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries.

Officers located the second vehicle over a kilometre away, and they along with other first responders found the bodies of a man and a woman, who were both 18 and from Melita, Man.

Police say it's believed the pair were ejected from their vehicle.

RCMP said that they, along with EMS, continued to search the area for other possible victims but none were located.

Misheyla Iwasiuk, a local storm chaser, said it was the biggest storm she's seen in her life.

"It was a pretty bad scene ... This storm was large, very violent and it wasn't anticipated," said Iwasiuk, who added the tornado flipped a car before hitting a farm and damaging buildings and equipment.

"We were assisting a gentleman whose vehicle unfortunately was flipped over and he was trapped inside of it."

She said multiple people stopped to help before emergency crews arrived and extracted the man from the car, which landed on top of downed power lines.

Iwasiuk said farm buildings in the area took extensive damage after taking a direct hit from the storm. She also said emergency responders were assisting people in the fields who were hit by the storm while in farm equipment.

Environment Canada said it received reports about the storm just before 8 p.m. local time on Friday.

Meteorologist Alysa Pederson described the twister as very large in size, but said it's not yet known how powerful the storm was.

She said the storm lasted for around 10 to 20 minutes.

The government agency says a damage survey will be completed today with the help of a team from the University of Manitoba.

The STARS air ambulance service said it dispatched a helicopter from Winnipeg to respond to an emergency in the Virden area.

Pederson said anyone with video or information about damage from the storm should reach out to Environment Canada.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 8, 2020.

Canada to match donations to Lebanon relief

Beirut donations matched

The federal government will match all individual donations from Canadians to humanitarian relief efforts in Lebanon following this week's deadly explosion in Beirut.

International Development Minister Karina Gould says the best way for Canadians to help the Lebanese people who have lost loved ones and their homes from this explosion is to give generously.

Donations made by Canadians before Aug. 24 to the Humanitarian Coalition — a group of 12 established aid organizations working on the ground — will be matched by the federal government, up to a maximum of $2 million.

This matching fund adds to $5 million in emergency aid pledged by Ottawa earlier this week after Tuesday's blast in Lebanon's capital.

Gould says Canada is directing all of its aid for this crisis directly to humanitarian organizations, not the Lebanese government, to ensure the assistance goes to those in need.

The Aug. 4 explosion of a warehouse in the port of Beirut has left at least 150 people dead, and thousands injured. More than 300,000 people have lost their homes.

Quebec festivals organizers look to innovate as restrictions loosened

Festivals allowed in Quebec

Montreal has been having its quietest summer in recent memory, as COVID-19 put an end to a world-renowned festival circuit celebrating everything from jazz to circus arts.

While many events have moved online, the Quebec government's decision this week to once again OK festivals — with a new 250-person limit and social distancing rules — has others cautiously moving forward with scaled-down versions, which they say may have to be the reality for some time.

The St-Jean-sur-Richelieu International Hot Air Balloon festival, which normally attracts some 350,000 people per year to a site southeast of Montreal, has been grounded by COVID-19 along with the rest of Quebec's major events.

Eric Boivin, the executive director of the festival, welcomes the government's decision to allow festivals to reopen, even if it won't change things for his event for 2020.

"From an industry perspective, it's a good thing, but for a festival like ours that normally attracts tens of thousands of people per day, it doesn't work," he said.

Instead, organizers have gone in a different direction, bringing shows to seniors' residences on a mobile stage. And, beginning this week, they turned a small part of the festival site into a venue for drive-in movies, music and comedy shows to run for the next few weeks, with the famous hot air balloons tethered in the background when weather allows.

But while Boivin's large-scale festival can't operate under the current rules, he believes smaller events can make it work.

Francois Chevrier, the director of a group combining festivals, tourist attractions and other events, said that many regional festivals are planning to go ahead following the government's announcement. Those include a music festival in the Gaspe region beginning this week, as well as many smaller events based on food, poetry or fall colours.

While Quebec is known for giant events such as Montreal's Jazz Festival or the Osheaga music festival, Chevrier said there are thousands of events in the province, and many have already been operating with smaller crowds and multiple sites.

"When Quebecers think of festivals they think about big festivals, big gatherings, but the reality in Quebec is more complex and diverse than that," he said.

"There's a food sector, there's a sports sector, it's very rich."

Some events are opting for a hybrid model, which combines small in-person gatherings with larger live-streamed events.

Montreal's MUTEK festival, which celebrates electronic music and digital arts, will run about 30 events with small audiences in addition to live-streamed concerts.

Founder Alain Mongeau said with limited sponsorship and ticket sales, revenue from festivals has plummeted, even if grants and funding pay most of the bills.

Nevertheless, he believes it's important to host in-person events at the September festival, no matter how small, in order to "create that in-person connection" after months of semi-isolation.

POP Montreal, a music and culture festival taking place in September, is banking on interesting outdoor spaces, such as rooftops, big backyards and alleys to create atmosphere for the small number of in-person shows that are planned.

Dan Seligman, the festival's creative director, admits it won't be quite the same without the crowds.

"It's still music, it'll be fun, but it's not going to be what it was," he said. At the same time, he believes the live-streamed events create an opportunity.

"In a way, we're able to connect and reach a larger audience, ironically," he said.

All the festival organizers agree that smaller-scale events are likely to be the reality for the foreseeable future.

Boivin is determined that his festival's namesake hot air balloons will fly again as part of the 2021 edition, "but without the big crowds, because we don't know if we'll be able to have them," he said.

He said they're already brainstorming ideas for formats that could work in the future within the current 250-person limit.

Chevrier said there are still challenges to be worked out for festivals, including figuring out how to be profitable with small crowds and the added expenses related to keep everyone safe. But he believes they will adapt.

"I think we felt this summer there was something missing in our cultural and tourist identity when the festivals aren't there, it's part of our way of getting together and living, very Quebecois," he said.

COVID-19 outbreaks over in federal prisons

Outbreaks over in prisons

COVID-19 outbreaks in Canada's federal prisons have been declared over, and staff and visitors are preparing for a" new normal" that could be in place for years.

In March, Correctional Service Canada implemented several physical distancing measures, including providing both staff and inmates with masks. Additional personal protection equipment, such as gloves, gowns and face shields were also provided.

The prisons also banned visits from the public.

Despite precautions, the novel coronavirus spread behind bars.

"Out of our 43 institutions, we had five outbreaks since the beginning of the pandemic, which have now all ended," said Marie Pier Lecuyer, a spokeswoman for Correctional Service Canada.

"However, we continue to monitor the situation and diligently apply our safety measures and health protocols."

A total of 360 inmates in Canada tested positive for COVID-19, and two of them died. The hardest hit institution was at the Federal Training Centre Multi-level in Laval, Que., which reported 161 cases and one death. One inmate remains in hospital.

The Mission Medium Institution in Mission, B.C., had 120 inmates test positive. One of them also died.

Correctional Service Canada's website on Friday listed no active cases of inmates, but said results of five tests were pending.

As of Aug. 5, Lecuyer said 142 employees at the institutions had tested positive for COVID-19, and 139 have recovered.

About a third of inmates in Canada are housed in federal institutions with the remainder in provincial jails, where those on sentences of two years less a day mix with those awaiting trial.

An official with the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers said things are slowly returning to normal in prisons, but it will be a lengthy process.

"Officers are wearing masks anytime we can't social distance. Inmates are given masks to wear whenever they can't social distance. We still have to start opening in some ways, right? You can't leave everything shut down forever," James Bloomfield told The Canadian Press.

Correctional Service Canada began the process of gradually allowing visits to inmates across the country a month ago, with strict health measures.

Before being allowed in, visitors must be screened and have their temperature checked. They're also required to wash their hands before entry, wear a mask and practice physical distancing. Visitor spaces are cleaned and disinfected before and after each visit.

"It really is what our new normal is," said Bloomfield.

"It's going to be restricted and very different. Previously, we never asked anybody if they had been out of province if they came in for a visit. We'd never taken anybody's temperature at the door," he added.

Bloomfield said stopping public visits to the federal institutions was necessary but unpopular with the inmates.

Visits are important because they allow inmates to maintain community and family contacts, he said.

"Having to restrict things like that is not taken lightly at all," Bloomfield said.

"It's not unlike the elderly in the seniors homes. ... They're locked away from people and nobody can visit."

The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada

COVID-19: today's numbers

The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of Aug. 8:

There are 118,984 confirmed cases in Canada.

_ Quebec: 60,241 confirmed (including 5,687 deaths, 50,886 resolved)

_ Ontario: 39,897 confirmed (including 2,783 deaths, 36,024 resolved)

_ Alberta: 11,430 confirmed (including 208 deaths, 10,097 resolved)

_ British Columbia: 3,934 confirmed (including 195 deaths, 3,353 resolved)

_ Saskatchewan: 1,409 confirmed (including 20 deaths, 1,221 resolved)

_ Nova Scotia: 1,071 confirmed (including 64 deaths, 1,005 resolved)

_ Manitoba: 476 confirmed (including 8 deaths, 351 resolved), 15 presumptive

_ Newfoundland and Labrador: 266 confirmed (including 3 deaths, 263 resolved)

_ New Brunswick: 176 confirmed (including 2 deaths, 168 resolved)

_ Prince Edward Island: 36 confirmed (including 36 resolved)

_ Yukon: 15 confirmed (including 11 resolved)

_ Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved)

_ Northwest Territories: 5 confirmed (including 5 resolved)

_ Nunavut: No confirmed cases

_ Total: 118,984 (15 presumptive, 118,969 confirmed including 8,970 deaths, 103,433 resolved)

Avoid all onions of unknown origin amid widening salmonella outbreak, says Health Canada

Onion recall expands

Canadian public health officers have expanded their warning over contaminated U.S. onions which have sickened over 200 Canadians across at least five Canadian provinces. 

At the end of July, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) had traced the mysterious outbreak to U.S.-grown purple onions, though without knowing the specific brand, recommended Canadians avoid all purple onions from the U.S.

Since then, the number of cases have climbed to 239 illnesses, up 119 since Aug. 1. 

Now the PHAC is recommending Canadians from any province or territory to “not eat, use, sell or serve any red, white, yellow, and sweet yellow onions from Thomson International Inc. of Bakersfield, California, USA.” The advice also applies to any products made with the suspect onions.

Individuals as well as “retailers, distributors, manufacturers and food service establishments such as hotels, restaurants, cafeterias, hospitals and nursing homes” should first avoid purchasing or using the onions. However, if it’s not clear where a red, yellow, white or sweet onion comes from, do not eat it, advice health officials.

Most of the cases have been in British Columbia (67) and Alberta (149), and 29 individuals have been hospitalized.

The sick range from infants to 100 years old and a slim majority of cases have been in females (54%). Those 5 and under as well as older adults, pregnant women and others with weakened immune systems are at the highest risk of falling seriously ill, according to PHAC.

The public health authority recommends that you check your shelves and refrigerator for any onions either of unknown origin or from Thomson International Inc. of Bakersfield, California. If you have any in your kitchen, throw them out, wash your hands thoroughly and sanitize the drawers where they were kept. Any surfaces that have come in contact with the onions, such as countertops, knives or cutting boards, should be sanitized.

The bacteria can be picked up from contaminated food, a surface or animal can be spread to other people while not showing any symptoms. Symptoms include fever, chills, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache, nausea and vomiting. They can last from four to seven days and will clear up without treatment in healthy people, though sometimes antibiotics are required. Most people recover within a few days.

If you do fall ill with the bacteria, PHAC recommends you do not cook food for other people. Any concerns around food safety at grocery stores or restaurants should be referred to your local local health authority.

Canadian man who was set to be deported from U.S. gets COVID in custody, dies

Cdn in custody dies by virus

A Canadian man who contracted COVID-19 while in the custody of U.S. immigration authorities has died, leaving his family shaken and looking for answers from governments on both sides of the border.

James Hill, 72, died at a Virginia hospital on Wednesday, four weeks after being transferred there from a nearby detention facility run by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Hill, a former Louisiana doctor, had been in ICE custody of for three months after serving more than 13 years in prison for health-care fraud and distributing a controlled substance.

A statement from ICE says a judge ordered his deportation in May.

His daughter says Hill was due to fly home to Toronto in early July, but ICE says he began to experience respiratory issues and was rushed to a local hospital on July 10.

He tested positive for COVID-19 the next day.

When reached by The Canadian Press on Friday, Global Affairs Canada expressed its condolences to Hill's family but declined to discuss details of the matter.

Hill's daughter, Verity Hill, said her father described the Farmville Detention Centre as "the worst place he had ever been" and was becoming increasingly concerned he would catch the virus.

She said initially, her father was put in solitary confinement to protect his health, but was removed for reasons that were not made clear to her family.

"I just can't believe they didn’t isolate the sick people," Hill said of ICE, accusing the agency of dragging its feet in the process of bringing her father home.

"I think they just think some people deserve to die.... That's what crossed my mind."

According to ICE statistics, there have been 290 confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the Farmville detention centre as of Wednesday, with an estimated 350 to 400 detainees at the centre in total.

Spokeswoman Kaitlyn Pote said the agency is following all government directions on COVID-19 and providing detainees with regular access to testing and medical treatment.

"ICE is firmly committed to the health and welfare of all those in its custody and is undertaking a comprehensive, agency-wide review of this incident, as it does in all such cases," Pote said in a statement.

But Claudia Cubas of the Washington, D.C.-based immigrant justice organization CAIR Coalition, said Hill's death highlights the unwillingness of American authorities to protect the health and safety of detainees.

"I know Mr. Hill had a criminal history, but he was a person," Cubas said. "You cannot bring his life back. We cannot help him reunify with his family. His life is forever gone."

Cubas argued the inability for immigration detainees to physically distance, and the constant integration of new detainees into a centre's population, make the spread of COVID-19 in detention centres like Farmville incredibly easy.

She also pointed to a recent ruling by the Canadian Federal Court against the Safe Third Country Agreement — which prevented asylum seekers in the U.S. from seeking refuge in Canada — as further evidence that the U.S. is treating detainees' lives as disposable.

Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, a Toronto Liberal MP whose office was contacted by Hill's family on July 15, said he is not sure whether anyone else in the Canadian government was aware of Hill's situation.

He added he was regretfully not able to help Hill's family, as the man had already contracted COVID-19 by the time they reached out to his office.

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