Another 11 COVID-19 cases reported in Waterloo Region

Trudeau says Canada has enough COVID-19 vaccines for all eligible Canadians

Waterloo Public Health reported 11 positive tests for the coronavirus on Tuesday, raising the total number of COVID-19 cases in the region to 18,302.

This is the third straight day the agency has announced fewer than 15 cases and it means that 91 cases have been reported over the past week. This works out to an average of 13 new cases per day.

Read more:
Drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Bingemans in Kitchener extended another week

Another 25 area residents have also been cleared of the virus, pushing the total number of resolved cases to 17,901.

There were also no new COVID-19-related fatalities announced in the region for the fourth straight day, leaving the death toll at 282, including 17 victims this month.

This leaves the area with 108 active COVID-19 cases, including 17 people in area hospitals as a result of COVID-19, with 11 of those patients in intensive care.

The number of COVID-19 outbreaks in the area shrank by one after an outbreak was declared over at St. Mary’s General Hospital in Kitchener, while another also ended at Grand River Hospital in Kitchener.

The latter hospital also had a new outbreak declared on 6 South after two patients who caught the virus were linked, with a third patient also potentially linked.

At the other end of the spectrum, the region’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution task force says there have now been 744,536 vaccinations in the area, 4,536 more than it reported Monday.

It also says 334,295 area residents have been vaccinated, 3,873 more than announced 24 hours earlier.

The agency says 56.77 per cent of area residents have now received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 70.22 per cent have now had a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Those numbers climb to 65.92 per cent and 81.55 per cent if you only include those over the age of 11 who are eligible to be vaccinated.

Read more:
Ontario reports 129 new COVID-19 cases, 5 deaths

Ontario is reporting 129 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, a slight increase from the day prior. The provincial case total now stands at 549,576.

On Monday, there were 119 new cases with 172 on Sunday and 170 on Saturday.

According to Tuesday’s report, 37 cases were recorded in Toronto, 22 in Peel Region and 12 in Hamilton.

All other local public health units reported fewer than 10 new cases in the provincial report.

The death toll in the province has risen to 9,321 as five more deaths were recorded.

—With files from Global News’ Gabby Rodrigues

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Hate crimes rose 'sharply' in 2020 despite police-reported crime drop, data shows

WATCH: Hidden Hate: What is a hate crime?

After five years of increases, 2020 showed a decline in police-reported crime in Canada. Hate crimes were a different story.

Data compiled in the latest Statistics Canada report found that police-reported crime decreased by eight per cent last year, falling to 73.4 incidents from 79.8 in 2019. In contrast, “the number of police-reported hate crimes in Canada increased by 37 per cent during the first year of the pandemic.”

Researchers said police-reported hate crimes “sharply” rose to 2,669 in 2020 from 1,951 incidents in 2019, with those targeting race or ethnicity nearly doubling from one year to the next.

Read more:
Hidden Hate: Younger generations call out disturbing rise in anti-Asian hate crimes

The data represents the highest number of police-reported hate crimes since Statistics Canada began tracking data in 2009.

Researchers said public health measures enforced during the COVID-19 pandemic like stay-at-home orders and quarantines reduced the number of opportunities for people to commit crimes.

However, Statistics Canada also said these public health restrictions pushed Canadians to turn to the internet for many aspects of their lives. This, according to the researchers, resulted in a rise in internet-related crimes, while also perpetuating family and domestic violence.

Experts like Mohammed Hashim, executive director of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, say more needs to be done to combat hate online before it snakes its way into the real world — and the pandemic only emphasized this.

“Hate is actually fear turned into extreme violence,” Hashim said in a previous interview with Global News. “And what we’re seeing is that fear is being fuelled dramatically, especially online.”

Breaking down the data

The data for 2020 shows Ontario saw the largest increase in hate crimes at 321 incidents. British Columbia followed at 196 hate crime-related incidents and Alberta saw an additional 105.

Police-reported hate crimes against Black people rose by 92 per cent with 318 incidents, while hate crimes targeting East or Southeast Asian people rose by 301 per cent at 202 incidents. Indigenous hate crimes increased by 152 per cent with 44 incidents while Canada’s South Asian population saw an additional 38 incidents, rising by 47 per cent.

“According to a crowdsourcing initiative conducted early in the pandemic, those belonging to visible minority groups were three times more likely to have perceived an increase in race-based harassment or attacks compared with the rest of the population,” the report said. 

This occurred most in Canadians who were visibly Chinese, Korean and Southeast Asian.

Read more:
Feds vow to fight antisemitism during national summit, citing hate crime spike

Dr. Carmen Celestini, an adjunct professor at the University of Waterloo, said racism was heavily entrenched in the pandemic, due to misinformation and conspiracy theories (mainly online) about the origins of the COVID-19 virus and its spread into society.

“People, when they’re afraid or they have a sense of injustice or, a sense of loss of freedom, they tend to turn to conspiracy theories or ideas of something outside of themselves being in control,” said Celestini, who is also a post-doctoral fellow at The Centre on Hate, Bias and Extremism.

“When there’s a continuous sense of disaster or a bad thing is happening, they’ll try to find someone to blame for that when their own sort of mechanisms of controlling fear does not work.”

Celestini said it was unsurprising that the idea of a scapegoat proliferated online, as many Canadians were forced to prioritize social media as a social setting while in isolation.

He said social media platforms such as Parlour and Telegram that are not being largely moderated to a great extent encouraged users to begin spewing unfiltered hatred.

“If we looked at things that were happening in society with Antifa and ideas like that, it was easy to hide these things under political memes and then push that envelope continuously to engage with more hate rhetoric and more extremism.”

Homicide rate up for second year in a row

Statistics Canada also zeroed in on homicides in this year’s report.

Researchers said non-violent crimes such as breaking and entering, theft under $5,000, and robbery and shoplifting of $5,000 or under were down in 2020, but homicides rose for the second consecutive year.

Homicides increased by 56 last year at a rate of seven per cent, for a total of 743 killings.

The Crime and Severity Index declined in most provinces and Nunavut, excluding the Northwest Territories, New Brunswick, the Yukon and Nova Scotia, where crime went up.

Nova Scotia scored highest on the Crime Severity Index at an additional six per cent, due to the mass shooting in April of last year that left 22 dead and three injured. The shooting marks the deadliest in Canadian history and is widely regarded as an example of gender-based violence against women.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Winnipeg first responders administering more doses of naloxone: police stats

WATCH: "I think there's a huge benefit for any first responder to be carrying naloxone on them. It's a lifesaving tool." Const. Lindsey Stevens talks about a close call in Charleswood.

New statistics from Winnipeg police show the use of naloxone in the city is on the rise.

The drug, an opioid antagonist that is used to rapidly reverse a drug overdose, was administered 789 times in 2019, and more than doubled last year.

So far, in 2021, a whopping 916 people have needed naloxone doses as of July 10.

Read more:
Drug overdose deaths spiked 87 per cent in Manitoba last year

Winnipeg police Const. Lindsey Stevens told Global News there’s a huge benefit to all first responders carrying naloxone, citing an incident Thursday in Charleswood, where police were able to save a man’s life.

“There was a motorist passing the Harte Trail system in the Charleswood area, when he was flagged down by a very panicked male that came running out of the area,” said Stevens.

“The male asked this motorist to call 911, and then he fled back into the forested area.”

Nearby police officers followed up on the call, and after venturing about a half-kilometre into the forested area of the trail, they found a man calling for help and performing CPR on another man.

The officers, Stevens said, administered multiple doses of naloxone, and the man was revived and able to be walked out of the forest to be cared for by on-scene paramedics.

“It’s a lifesaving tool these days,” he said.

“There’s an opioid and a methamphetamine crisis going on in Winnipeg, so it’s important the first responders have access to this, and I think it’s extremely beneficial that members of the Winnipeg Police Service are outfitted with these doses.

“It does seem to be a growing issue within Winnipeg. I don’t think it’s exclusive to one area in particular. There are a lot of people in our city that struggle with some very terrible addictions, and they need help and they need resources.”

Danny Smyth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

Danny Smyth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

Winnipeg police chief Danny Smyth said Tuesday that the drug crisis is still very much in effect in Winnipeg — it’s just been overshadowed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The supply chain has been disrupted a little bit in the last couple of years, but there’s still evidence of fentanyl here,” he said.

“Our biggest concern there is when it’s not medical grade fentanyl, there’s inconsistencies in the manufacturing, which puts a lot of users at risk because they just don’t know how the concentration is.

“The other thing that we saw a little bit is some mixing of drugs, and that always causes us concern as well. So, you know, the drug trade is still alive. There are a lot of people that are vulnerable.”

 

Marion Willis of St. Boniface Street Links told 680 CJOB another problem with the current drug epidemic is that cutting agents used in many drugs can sometimes mean naloxone — at least a single dose — isn’t necessarily enough to save a life anymore.

“It is really, really, really bad out there. The numbers that you’re seeing in terms of the elevation in naloxone injections is going to correspond to an increase in the number of opioid deaths again this year. Something has to change here,” said Willis.

Read more:
17 Canadians died per day from opioids in 2020 amid COVID-19 crisis, PHAC says

“The drugs are cut with all kinds of different agents, and that certainly impacts the effectiveness of the naloxone.

“We have a drug epidemic in this city and this province — it’s a drug epidemic that nobody has really yet come together in a meaningful way to address. There needs to be a movement, and it needs to be from community-led organizations supported by the city and by the province to inform the strategy, resources, so that we can move forward in a better way.”

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Suspect steals 10 patio chairs from Simply Irie restaurant in Calgary: police

Calgary police need help to identify a man they say stole 10 patio chairs from a restaurant this month.

On July 9 at 5:30 a.m., the suspect cut a chain securing the patio and stole 10 chairs from Simply Irie Caribbean Cuisine, located at 1510 6 St. S.W.

Read more:
Calgary restaurant owner believes thefts are racially motivated: ‘It’s been a tough year’

“The same suspect is believed to be connected to several other similar offences against the restaurant,” police said in a news release on Tuesday.

If you know anything about the suspect, call police at 403-266-1234 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Weather statements for heat, smoky skies issued for lower third of B.C.

In a sign of the times in B.C., the lower third of the province is under a special weather statement for either heat or smoky skies.

Or, in many cases, both.

Issued by Environment Canada, the special weather statements stretch from mid-Vancouver Island through to the Alberta border, and encompass Whistler and Greater Vancouver plus the Okanagan, Kamloops and Cariboo regions.

Read more:
Okanagan weather: no relief from 30-degree heat

Pending where one lives, the statements can be dramatically different, though the overarching theme is that a strengthening ridge of high pressure will increase temperatures from Wednesday to Saturday.

For example, the Lower Mainland is facing temperatures from the high 20s near the water to the low 30s inland.

“The timeframe with the hottest weather will be from Thursday to Saturday,” Environment Canada said.

A graphic showing special weather statements covering the lower third of British Columbia.

A graphic showing special weather statements covering the lower third of British Columbia.

Environment Canada

“The highest temperatures are expected to be in the Fraser Valley, Sea to Sky region, and inland Vancouver Island.”

Heading east, though, the temperatures rise, along with warnings for smoky skies and worsening air quality.

In the Okanagan and Thompson regions — which respectively include Kelowna and Kamloops — and straight through to Alberta, those areas are facing even hotter temperatures, along with smoky skies bulletins due to scores of wildfires.

“A strengthening ridge of high pressure over the Southern Interior will boost daytime high temperatures into the mid to high 30s Celsius, with overnight lows in the mid to high teens later this week,” Environment Canada said.

“The timeframe with the hottest weather will be from Wednesday to Saturday.”

The national weather agency said heat warnings may be issued for some regions as the ridge draws closer.

Regarding wildfire smoke, the province is divided into six fire zones.

As of Tuesday morning, there were 252 wildfires across the province, with the Kamloops Fire Centre (which includes the Okanagan) having the most at 90 fires. The Southeast Fire Centre was next with 68.

The Prince George Fire Centre has 48 wildfires, while the Coastal Fire Centre has five and the Northwest has four.

The smoky skies bulletins extend from the Cariboo south to the U.S. border and east to Alberta.

“Many regions of B.C. are being impacted or are likely to be impacted by wildfire smoke over the next 24-48 hours,” Environment Canada said.

It said individuals may experience symptoms such as increased coughing, throat irritation, headaches or shortness of breath. Children, seniors, and those with cardiovascular or lung disease, such as asthma, are especially at risk.

The province’s Air Quality Health Index, which has a 1 to 10-plus scale, provides regular readings for several communities across B.C.

Again, pending where one lives, the readings will vary greatly.

In Victoria and Vancouver, the readings on Tuesday just before noon were low (1-3). The Central Okanagan was also low (3), but the North Okanagan was high (8) while Kamloops was very high (10-plus). Further east, Castlegar was at high (9) while Cranbrook was high (7).

For more about the Air Quality Health Index, you can visit the Government of B.C.’s air quality website.

 

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

COVID-19: Ontario regions push to boost youth vaccination rate as school year window closes

WATCH ABOVE: (July 22) Experts say vaccine certificates would help speed up reopening of economy, prevent lockdowns and incentivize vaccination. But the Ontario Ministry of Health doesn’t seem likely to take the advice. Mark Carcasole reports.

TORONTO — Ontario health units are ramping up youth vaccination efforts, using prizes and social media, as the window quickly closes for students to be fully immunized by the time school starts.

Youth aged 12 to 17 have the lowest overall vaccination rate of any eligible age cohort in the province. Just over 64 per cent have one shot and 41 per cent are fully vaccinated, with variation across different regions.

Barry Pakes, a University of Toronto professor in public health, said many families are busy with other activities in the summer and may not realize they have just a few days to get their first shot in order to be fully vaccinated by the start of September.

Read more:
Canada now has enough COVID-19 vaccines for everyone eligible: Trudeau

Students would need to get a first dose by the end of the August long weekend to be fully immunized for Labour Day.

“People are just not in that mindset of, ‘School is only five weeks away, we really need to focus on being protected so that we can return to school normally,”’ he said in an interview. “That’s really the key focus, and then the other piece is how we actually do that.”

The government has said it aims to resume classes and other activities in person, looking at vaccination rates among eligible students, staff and community members.

The comparatively low rate among youth is partially linked to the timing of the vaccine rollout, Pakes said. Youth in virus hot spots like Toronto and Peel became eligible for Pfizer-BioNTech shots slightly earlier than in other regions, where appointments started to open up in June, as school was winding down and summer holidays began.

Read more:
Ontario asks feds to work with WHO on ensuring mixed COVID-19 vaccines recognized abroad

Now nearing the end of July, health units have started running targeted initiatives to increase the numbers, emphasizing the return to school in a few weeks’ time. Peterborough Public Health is offering walk-in clinics for youth and has partnered with the Peterborough Petes, the local Ontario Hockey League team, to encourage young fans to get their shots.

York Region sent letters to families in areas with low vaccine uptake, personalized for individual schools, including frequently asked questions about vaccines. Peel Public Health allowed youth and families to skip the line at vaccine clinics on July 21 and 22, as part of a “Vax to School” push. Several health units are also using social media campaigns to reach younger people.

In Windsor-Essex County, about 55 per cent of youth have received only one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Dr. Wajid Ahmed, medical officer of health for the region, said summer is a factor in the lower rates, as some families don’t want vaccine appointments or possible side-effects to waylay their vacation plans. There are also unique hesitancy concerns among parents, he said.

“For some of them, they’re fine to accept the vaccine for themselves, but they feel that maybe their children should wait to receive the vaccine,” Ahmed said in an interview.

The health unit is aiming to improve access in areas with low vaccine uptake, running pop-up clinics at schools and the local mall, some involving incentives like laptop prizes and food vouchers.

Recent clinics run at schools have had lower than anticipated uptake, Ahmed said, but the results have been “better than not having anything at all.” He said there are plans to shift the vaccination campaign to individual schools with lower vaccination uptake come September.

“When we get to the point when the school starts to open up there will be more targeted effort that we need to do in each of these schools,” he said.

The government hasn’t yet released its back-to-school plan, but the education minister has said vaccination rates among eligible students, staff and the broader community will be considered as the province aims for a September with more extracurriculars and activities allowed.

The province’s top doctor has also stressed the importance of high vaccination coverage among youth and young adults, predicting COVID-19 cases will rise in the fall when they congregate together inside socially and for classes.

The provincial government has not specified a target for youth vaccination by the time classes start. When asked, a spokeswoman for Health Minister Christine Elliott replied with overall vaccination targets for the province to move beyond Step 3, a reopening plan that doesn’t involve schools.

Pakes said a rule requiring that students get vaccinated to participate in extracurriculars like sports and clubs would help those activities run safely in the fall.

“It’s going to be a hard thing for governments to say, but that’s really what’s necessary in order to have everyone safe,” he said.

The return to classes also presents an opportunity to make vaccination accessible to students who didn’t get their shots over the summer, he said.

“I think (the vaccination rate) will go up and I very much hope it does,” he said. “We just need to incentivize it properly.”

— With files from Allison Jones

© 2021 The Canadian Press

Suspect charged with attempted murder in connection with Pickering shooting

Durham Regional Police say a suspect has been charged with attempted murder in connection with a shooting in Pickering last year.

Police said that on Sept. 25, officers went to a home in the area of Whites Road and Sheppard Avenue for reports of a shooting and found a male victim with gunshot wounds.

Read more:
Man in life-threatening condition after shooting outside Pickering home: police

Officers said that after a 10-month investigation, a suspect was arrested on Monday and charged with numerous offences.

Toronto resident Colin Olafemi, 32, has been charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, firearms offences and possessing stolen property.

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact police at 1-888-579-1520 ext. 2565/2526 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Almost 650K Quebecers have jumped on COVID-19 vaccine lottery bandwagon

Quebecers are showing enthusiasm for the province’s Loto-Québec COVID-19 vaccine lottery with 644,029 people registering since Sunday, the Health Ministry said in a statement Tuesday.

Registration got off to a rocky start on Sunday, with the site experiencing technical difficulties leaving some unable to register. By 8 a.m. the next day, however, more than 360,000 people had signed up.

Read more:
More than 360,000 people registered for Quebec’s vaccination lottery in first 24 hours

Officials said Monday, the Loto-Québec website is seeing 20 times its usual traffic.

Any Quebecer who has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine can participate in the lottery.

There will be four draws worth $150,000 each, held every Friday throughout the month of August. A grand prize of $1 million will be decided on Sept. 18 for those who are fully vaccinated.

Children aged 12-17 will have their own lottery with prizes ranging from $10,000 to $20,000 in school bursaries.

When the government first announced its plans for a lottery earlier this month, it said it hoped the initiative would encourage more people to roll up their sleeves and get a shot.

Read more:
Technical difficulties on first day to register in Quebec vaccination lottery

The province is aiming to have 75 per cent of its eligible population fully immunized against COVID-19 by the end of August.

To date, Quebec’s Institut Nationale de Santé Publique says that 63.4 per cent of those over the age of 12 are adequately vaccinated.

— with files from Global News’ Kalina Laframboise and Alessia Maratta

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Body found in burned vehicle in Langley, B.C. is man connected to gang conflict: police

The body found inside a burned vehicle in Langley, B.C. last week has now been identified.

The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team said Tuesday the victim is 36-year-old Christopher Roy, from Vancouver.

“IHIT investigators are able to confirm that Christopher Roy was known to police, had a criminal record, and was connected to the current Lower Mainland gang conflict. This is believed to be a targeted incident,” IHIT said in a release.

Police say they responded to a report of a vehicle fire in the area of 197th Street and 82nd Ave. around 7 p.m. on July 21.

Mounties say once the flames were extinguished a body was discovered inside of a burned red Ford f-150 pickup truck with body-kit modifications.

Read more:
Homicide investigators called to Langley after body found inside a burned pickup

IHIT said its investigators are releasing Roy’s name and details to further the investigation. The distinct red Ford F-150 is also still of interest.

“There are associates of Mr. Roy who knew of his activities prior to his death,” Sgt. David Lee of IHIT said in a release. “We ask for those people to come forward.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact IHIT by phone at 1-877-551-4448 (IHIT) or by email at ihitinfo@rcmp-grc.gc.ca.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Man found dead in Campbellton; New Brunswick RCMP investigating as 'suspicious'

The New Brunswick RCMP is investigating a “suspicious death” after the body of a 38-year old man was found in Campbellton.

RCMP said in a news release they found the body lying on the ground next to a home on Tingley Crescent Tuesday morning.

“The identity of the man is not being released at this time as part of the investigation,” police said.

READ MORE: RCMP investigating suspicious death in Pont-Landry, N.B.

That same morning, at around 7:50 a.m., police found a second man in the parking lot of Sugarloaf Senior High School.

Police said the 48-year-old man was taken into custody, however, the RCMP is still trying to figure out whether the man was involved in the suspicious death incident.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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