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Epidemiologist says new Sask. COVID-19 maps a good step, but further details may still be needed

Epidemiologist says new Sask. COVID-19 maps a good step, but further details may still be neededIt's the right time to release more detail about COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan, according to a professor at the University of Saskatchewan department of community health and epidemiology.Saskatchewan launched a new COVID-19 map with more detailed regional information about where positive cases are this week. The main map is broken into 13 regions, then a second map goes into more detail with 32 sub-regions. The previous map had only six main regions. Dr. Cory Neudorf said it is good to get more detail on cases, but it depends on the map's purpose. Neudorf said it is a good tool for communicating general information about where new cases are, where hospitalizations are and how many active cases are in a region."The best picture that it gives right away is this context that shows that really it spread throughout the province," Neudorf said. "It, I guess, assures people that we need to be taking precautions all over still."The province said its online health and wellness dashboard is being updated over the next few weeks to incorporate the new region boundaries. Neudorf said if there are local outbreaks then it may be necessary to give more details within those 32 regions if it's in the public interest. "I think the need for more detailed information will be very context specific as to whether we see localized outbreaks happening," he said. Neudorf said there have been some efforts to warn the public — such as the Saskatchewan Health Authority advisories — but there has also been an increase in community transmission. The province says that of the 1,376 cases in the province as of August 5, 205 are travelers, 703 are community contacts, 358 have no known exposures and 110 are under investigation by local public health officials. The more detailed map could help justify stepping back the reopening plan in a specific region if necessary, Neudorf said. As well, if there is a second wave, where the cases are is important, he said. "This little bit more nuanced picture is better," Neudorf said. "This isn't something you can ignore just because it's vaguely represented as being in the southern half of the province or or in the northern half or something. We can clearly see from the map that there are cases scattered throughout."

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil announces he is leaving politics

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil announces he is leaving politicsHALIFAX — Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil announced today he is stepping down as premier and Liberal party leader.The premier said that after 17 years in provincial politics, he decided it's time for a change.McNeil, who was elected premier in 2013 and re-elected in 2017, says he will stay on until the party chooses a new leader.He says he had initially planned to leave in April, but the COVID-19 pandemic postponed those plans.The announcement caught political watchers by surprise, and McNeil says he only advised his caucus of the decision this morning.He says he considers his key accomplishments to include promoting growth of the private sector and keeping a handle on the cost of public sector wages.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 6, 2020.The Canadian Press

Ottawa's buffer against provincial economic shocks needs reform: economist

Ottawa's buffer against provincial economic shocks needs reform: economistCALGARY — A new paper suggests a federal program meant to buffer provinces against economic shocks is not up to the task — especially in the COVID-19 era.University of Calgary economist Trevor Tombe is urging Ottawa to review and reform the federal stabilization program so it can help provincial economies weather the effects of the pandemic.He estimates provinces could be on track for a collective $35-billion revenue decline this fiscal year — equivalent to $1,000 per person.But he notes that figure is offset by up to $23 billion thanks to taxable federal emergency benefits for individuals and employers.Tombe says there's still a big gap that can't be adequately addressed by the fiscal stabilization, which has not been meaningfully reformed since its inception in 1967. He says the $60 per person cap on stabilization payments to provinces hasn't been updated since 1986 and should be at least double that, just adjusting for inflation. Tombe's paper was published by the Canada West Foundation think-tank. He and other independent academics and policy experts have started the new Intergovernmental Fiscal Relations Commission, which aims to improve the fiscal relationship between Ottawa, the provinces and cities.This report by The Canadian Press was first published on August 6, 2020 The Canadian Press

Nobody hurt after crane collapses onto downtown intersection

Nobody hurt after crane collapses onto downtown intersectionA construction crane crashed onto the intersection on River and Dundas Streets just after 10:30 a.m., police say. Toronto paramedics say there were no construction workers in the area at the time of the collapse, only pedestrians. Nobody was hurt."There was no operator of the crane," paramedics spokesperson Steven Henderson said.He also confirmed no injuries have been reported right now, but they are keeping an eye on two people who are "shaken up" following the accident. The reason for the collapse is still unknown, said Const. Michelle Flannery with the Toronto police.Paramedics, police, and fire personnel are on the scene. The streets have been closed and police are asking all drivers and pedestrians to avoid this area right now as they investigate. Flannery said the Ministry of Labour will also be notified.

Thursday 6th of August 2020 04:46:00


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