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Extreme cold, heavy snow settle in over Central and Eastern Canada

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The Canadian Press


Published Sunday, January 20, 2019 11:00AM EST


Last Updated Sunday, January 20, 2019 2:37PM EST

Much of Eastern and Central Canada is being battered by a fierce winter storm that’s bringing icy cold winds and could dump as much as 50 centimetres of snow in some regions.

In the Maritimes, New Brunswick is bracing for the brunt of it, with 30 to 50 centimetres of snow expected today for northern parts of the province, and 15 to 30 centimetres expected in the southern parts.

Environment Canada says the snow will change over to ice pellets and freezing rain this afternoon or evening, then to rain tonight over southern and central parts of the province.

The forecaster says strong winds, gusting up to 90 km/h in some areas, will also reduce visibility.

Geoffrey Downey, the province’s spokesman for the Department of Public Safety, said New Brunswick Power crews are positioned strategically throughout the province to deal with any potential power outages, and some municipalities have opened emergency operation centres.

“Everyone’s taking this very seriously,” he said.

Downey said anyone in a region with forecasted rainfall should check their drains outside to ensure they’re clear, and advised everyone to stay off the roads unless it’s an emergency.

“You’re only going to get in the way of emergency responsers, plow operators, and potentially become someone who needs to be saved as well,” he said.

Bay Ferries has cancelled sailings between Saint John, N.B., and Digby, N.S.

The storm is also bringing a rare combination of heavy snow, high winds and extreme cold to many parts of Quebec and southern Ontario.

An intense depression south of the St. Lawrence river could bring 15 to 25 centimetres of snow to the Montreal and Quebec City region, while Quebec’s Estrie and Beauce regions could receive 30 centimetres and Gaspesie could see as many as 50.

Environment Canada has also issued a dual winter storm and extreme cold warning for Ottawa, which could see an addition 5 to 15 centimetres of snow along with wind chill values near -35 to -40.

Nova Scotia will see five to 15 centimetres of snow today followed by 30 to 60 millimetres of rain over much of the province’s mainland, coupled with strong winds gusting up to 100 km/h this afternoon and tonight.

Prince Edward Island is expecting up to 20 centimetres of snow in some areas before it changes to ice pellets and freezing rain this evening, along with strong winds gusting up to 90 km/h.

Environment Canada is warning that road conditions may be treacherous in all the storm-affected areas due to ice, snow and reduced visibility.

And rainfall, wind, blowing snow and extreme cold warnings have been issued throughout Newfoundland and Labrador, with strong winds gusting between 100 km/h and 150 km/h along the island’s western and southern coasts, whipping up snow and reducing visibility.

Environment Canada says heavy rain is also expected over parts of Newfoundland overnight Sunday or Monday morning, with the south coast expecting the worst of it at 50 to 80 millimetres.

The storm has caused some flight cancellations at airports across the affected regions, including Montreal and Quebec City.

In Montreal, the storm has also caused the cancellation of a festival dedicated to… snow.

The City announced yesterday that it’s suspending the Fete des Neiges due to the snowy, windy and cold weather as well as the dangerous conditions on the province’s roads.

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Ottawa sets monthly record for total COVID-19 cases with 99 new cases on Friday

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Sixteen days into October, Ottawa has already set the record for most cases of COVID-19 in a single month.

Ottawa Public Health reported 99 new cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa today, and three more deaths linked to novel coronavirus.

Ontario’s Ministry of Health had reported 108 new cases of COVID-19, but there is sometimes a lag in COVID-19 case reporting between Ontario and Ottawa Public Health. On Wednesday, Ontario reported 39 new cases in Ottawa, while Ottawa Public Health reported 45 new cases.

There have been 1,511 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa in October, surpassing the September record of 1,413 new cases.

Since the first case of COVID-19 on March 11, there have been 5,908 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa, including 301 deaths.

Across Ontario, there are 712 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday. Health Minister Christine Elliott reported 213 new cases in Toronto, 135 in Peel Region and 62 in York Region.

HOSPITALIZATIONS IN OTTAWA

One more person was admitted to an Ottawa hospital with COVID-19 related illnesses on Friday.

Ottawa Public Health reports 47 people are currently in hospital with COVID-19, including eight in the intensive care unit.

ACTIVE CASES OF COVID-19 IN OTTAWA

The number of active cases of COVID-19 increased on Friday.

There are 792 active cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa, up from 777 active cases on Thursday.

A total of 4,806 people have recovered after testing positive for COVID-19.

The number of active cases is the number of total laboratory-confirmed cases minus the numbers of resolved cases and deaths. A case is considered resolved 14 days after known symptom onset or positive test result.

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Ottawa mayor rejects possible return of Ottawa-Gatineau border checkpoints, ‘I really don’t think they work’

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Mayor Jim Watson does not want to see police checkpoints return to the five interprovincial crossings between Ottawa and Gatineau, saying “I really don’t think they work.”

Earlier this week, Gatineau Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin told the Ottawa Citizen that police checkpoints could return to the Ottawa-Gatineau border at “any time,” with the final decision in the hands of the Quebec Government. Earlier this month, Dr. Brigitte Pinard of the Centre Integre de sante et de services sociaux de l’Outaouais said border checkpoints were “possible,” adding “right now, our message is to limit large gatherings.”

When asked by CTV Morning Live host Leslie Roberts about the possibility of police checkpoints returning to the Ontario-Quebec border, Watson said he did not think they worked back in the spring.

“There were so many gaps when the police were not there, and people just figured out I’ll go at an earlier time or a later time. We saw police officers sticking their heads in the car with no masks, so that was not healthy for those individuals,” said Watson Friday morning.

“It’s a costly expense when our police are stretched already to the limit trying to do the work, to have them set up at five different bridge points potentially 24 hours a day would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars every month and I think the money is better spent.”

On April 1, Gatineau Police and the Surete du Quebec set up checkpoints along the Ottawa-Gatineau border to limit non-essential trips into Gatineau. Gatineau Police estimated the random police checkpoints between April 1 and May 17 cost the service more than $400,000.

Mayor Watson tells CTV Morning Live that the Quebec Government’s decision to move Gatineau into the “red zone” two days after Ontario moved Ottawa to a modified Stage 2 should help.

“We are a close relationship and when things happen in Gatineau there’s often a trickle effect over here and I think the fact that we’re both in the red zone, and Quebec of course is the worst hit province, at least levels the playing field for our restaurants and bars,” said Watson.

“I think in the past what had happened was our restaurants and bars would close and then the ones in Gatineau would stay open, and then people from Ottawa would go over there irresponsibly, in my opinion, and then come back potentially with the virus and spread it here.”

While border checkpoints would limit the non-essential travel across the Ottawa-Gatineau border, Watson says that’s not the way to beat COVID-19.

“The message is very clear, stick to your household. This is not the time to have an AirBNB party or a keg party in your backyard, or have 20 people or 30 people in for an engagement party. I know a lot of these get-togethers are important socially for people and emotionally, but we have to ask people to be reasonable and responsible, and this is not the year to do those kinds of things.”

Roberts asked the mayor if he would have a conversation about border checkpoints with Gatineau’s mayor.

“I had it the first go-around, but at the end of the day I also respect their jurisdiction and their autonomy. It is the province that would have to impose that, not the municipality,” said Watson.

“From our perspective, we don’t think it’s an effective use of resources. We want to continue to get the message across that we can win this battle against COVID-19 if we socially distance, we wear a mask, we actually follow the simple rules that are put forward.”

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Ottawa woman breaks 14-day quarantine rule to work at long-term care home: police

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OTTAWA — A 53-year-old Ottawa woman is facing charges under the federal Quarantine Act after Ottawa police say she failed to self-isolate for 14 days after travelling abroad and returned to work at a long-term care home.

Ottawa Police say information was received indicating that an Ottawa woman had travelled abroad. She returned to Canada on Sept. 26, so she was required under federal law to quarantine for 14 days, until Oct. 9

“The woman decided not to respect this order and went to work on Sept. 30 at a long-term health facility in Ottawa,” police said in a news release. “When management was apprised of the situation, she was immediately sent home. The facility immediately activated mitigating self-isolation and cleaning protocols and informed all persons that had been in contact with the subject.”

Police say none of the residents of the long-term care facility have tested positive for COVID-19 as a result of the woman attending work.

Ottawa police say this is the first person they have charged under the Quarantine Act during the pandemic.

The woman is charged with failing to comply with entry condition under section 58 of the Quarantine Act and cause risk of imminent death or serious bodily harm under section 67 of the Quarantine Act.

The maximum penalty for causing risk of imminent death or serious bodily harm is a $1 million fine and three years in prison. For failing to self-isolate for 14 days, she faces a $750,000 fine and up to six months in jail.

Police did not release the name of the woman, nor where she worked. The woman is due in court on Nov. 24.

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson’s office issued a statement following the announcement of the charges.

“Mayor Watson was disturbed to learn about the alleged carelessness of the individual in question. This type of reckless behaviour could have harmed their colleagues, and more importantly, the residents of the long term care home. We must all do our part to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our community.”

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