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COVID 19 surges and hospital donations; In The News for March 23


In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of March 23 ...

COVID-19 in Canada ...

OTTAWA — The number of confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases in Canada rose to 1,472 by the end of Sunday, an increase of 141 over the previous 24 hours.

And the country's death toll from the new coronavirus rose to 21.

As the pandemic continues to surge globally, the Canadian Olympic Committee has announced it won't send a team to Tokyo unless the Summer Games, which are scheduled to start on July 24, are pushed back by a year.

Meanwhile, the federal government's $30-million multi-media ad campaign to advise Canadians about how to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 begins today.

The ads, two in English and two in French, feature Canada's chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, once again urging Canadians to keep their distance from one another and to practice good personal hygiene.

Tomorrow, Parliament will resume so the House of Commons can debate and pass emergency legislation to help Canadians cope with the COVID-19 crisis. Proposals would, among other things, allow the government to make changes to employment insurance benefits as well as extend support to people who don't qualify for EI. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has also promised more financial aid in the coming days and weeks.


Also this ...

TORONTO — A Toronto hospital is accepting donations of face masks and other protective gear from members of the public in an effort to ward off what some say is an impending shortage.

The Personal Protective Equipment Drive at Michael Garron Hospital comes a day after two Ontario medical associations sounded the alarm about the supply of N95 and surgical masks.

The Ontario Medical Association and the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario said there is a large stockpile of the masks that have expired but should still be used in lower-risk areas.

The associations are also calling on anyone with masks not currently being used to hand them over so they can be used by health workers.

They specifically called on education institutions and dental workers to repurpose their supplies.

The federal government has said it's secured millions more masks, which should be arriving shortly, but there's still concern that it won't be enough.

Michael Garron Hospital  is home to a dedicated COVID-19 assessment centre.


COVID-19 in the U.S. ...

WASHINGTON — The latest economic rescue package being negotiated in Washington is now nearly $2 trillion.

 But the Senate has yet to agree on the parameters of the package, voting against advancing the measure to a full vote.

Talks were continuing Sunday night on Capitol Hill with the goal a new vote on Monday.

Democrats say the draft package is insufficient in the face of economic havoc from the coronavirus, arguing that it is tilted toward corporations and does too little to help workers and health care providers.

President Donald Trump weighed in earlier in the day, saying "it's not very complicated" and that workers must be helped and companies saved.


COVID-19 around the world ...

NEW DELHI — India has expanded its virus-containment measures and halted its lifeblood train network.

Now, the federal government is warning of strict legal action for those who flout the rules.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, "Please save yourself, save your family" and called for states to follow preventive measures to contain the spread of the virus.

India has at least 415 active cases of infection, many linked to foreign travel.

But indigenous spread of the disease is considered inevitable in a country where tens of millions live in dense urban areas with irregular access to clean water.


COVID-19 in entertainment ...

Placido Domingo says he's tested positive for COVID-19.

Domingo, who is 79, says on Facebook he and his family are in self-isolation. He says he is feeling well despite a fever and a cough. Last year, multiple women accused Domingo of sexual misconduct and abusing his power at two opera companies. He had denied wrongdoing, but then issued an apology.

Meanwhile, former star of "The Bachelor" Colton Underwood and talk-show host Andy Cohen have also joined the growing group of celebrities who have tested positive for COVID-19.

Underwood posted a video on his social media pages saying he has been following all social distancing rules for a week but tested positive on Friday. The 28-year-old former football player who appeared as "The Bachelor" in 2019 says he began having symptoms, primarily exhaustion, a few days ago.

Cohen, the 51-year-old host of the long-running Bravo late-night show "Watch What Happens Live," said on Instagram and Twitter Friday that he's also tested positive and will not do shows from home as he had planned.

And Netflix is establishing a 100-million dollar relief fund for workers whose jobs in TV and film production have been brought to a halt by COVID-19.

The streaming service says the majority of the fund will support the hardest-hit workers on Netflix's own productions around the world, especially crew members.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 23, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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