Today’s coronavirus news: Jays hoping to increase capacity at Rogers Centre, Ontario changing regulations to allow more fans at Leafs pre-season game

The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Thursday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.8:40 a.m. The Ontario government is changing regulations that will allow the Maple Leafs to open their pre-season in front of a half-full Scotiabank Arena this weekend, according to sources.Approximately 9,500 fans will be permitted for Saturday night’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.Provincial regulations had previously limited the Maple Leafs, Raptors and Ottawa Senators to a maximum of 1,000 fans per event. That number is being increased to 50 per cent of building capacity, with an eye toward bumping the amount of fans further over time if things progress well.Read more from columnist Chris Johnston 8:30 a.m. (updated) The Blue Jays are hoping to boost fan support for their final homestand of the regular season, as well as a potential playoff run.The club announced on Thursday it is working with provincial health officials on increasing ballpark capacity, in line with all public health protocols. Additional tickets will be sold for the team’s final six home games.In the event that capacity limits are not approved by the government in time, “impacted ticket purchasers will be directly notified of their ticket cancellation and issued a refund via their original method of payment,” according to the Jays.Read the full story from the Star’s Laura Armstrong7:50 a.m. New York Transit officials have announced a crackdown on riders who skirt a state rule that requires them to wear a mask while on transit.The new enforcement push begins Thursday, officials said. It comes more than a year after former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Sept. 10, 2020, order mandating all commuters in New York wear face masks or else face a $50 (U.S.) fine.Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesman Michael Cortez said the agency’s police department has issued just 41 summonses to subway, bus and commuter railroad riders who flouted the mask mandate, or about one every nine days since the policy took effect.That figure doesn’t include summonses that might have been issued by NYPD Transit Bureau officers.MTA surveys conducted during the first six months of 2020 found more than 80 per cent of subway riders wore their masks over both their noses and mouths — but that figure dipped to 71 per cent in early July and remained below 75 per cent in early September.6:21 a.m.: As Portugal closes in on its goal of fully vaccinating 85 per cent of the population against COVID-19 in nine months, other countries in Europe and beyond want to know how it was accomplished.A lot of the credit is going to Rear Adm. Henrique Gouveia e Melo. With his team from the three branches of the armed forces, the naval officer took charge of the vaccine rollout in February — perhaps the moment of greatest tension in Portugal over the pandemic.Now, the county could be just days away from hitting its target. As of Wednesday, 84 per cent of the total population was fully vaccinated, the highest globally, according to Our World in Data.Along with the rising number of shots, the COVID-19 infection rate and hospitalizations from the virus have dropped to their lowest levels in nearly 18 months. Portugal could end many of its remaining pandemic restrictions in October — a coveted development for many countries still in the grip of the highly infectious delta variant and lagging in their own vaccination rollouts.Previously unheralded outside the military, Gouveia e Melo is now a household name in Portugal, having made a point of going on television regularly to answer public concerns about the vaccination program.Easily recognizable even behind a face mask due to his blue eyes, close-cropped salt-and-pepper hair and 1.93-meter (6-foot-3-inch) height, he's often greeted in the street by people wanting to thank him.“People are very nice,” he says. But the 60-year-old officer also is quick to insist he is just “the tip of the iceberg” in the operation and that many others share the credit.6:18 a.m.: Early last week, while dozens of anti-vaxxers flocked to downtown Toronto hospitals, roughly 4,500 Torontonians got their vaccines at clinics around the city.Last week between Thursday and Sunday, during which anti-vaxxers protested COVID-19 mandates near Queen’s Park, nearly 8,000 doses of vaccine were administered to Torontonians at clinics all around the city — the result of its “Days of Vaxtion” mobile clinic blitz.I’m not a statistician, but I’d wager that for every anti-vaxxer telling lies in Toronto there are thousands of unvaccinated Torontonians seriously considering getting the jab or lining up to do so. Day by day, week by week, the undecided are making good decisions.This is in large part because the city’s vaccination campaign, once a gargantuan thing with millions of willing participants, is today pared down and hyper focused on immunizing hesitant stragglers.Tenzin Wangmo helps those stragglers reach the finish line

Today’s coronavirus news: Jays hoping to increase capacity at Rogers Centre, Ontario changing regulations to allow more fans at Leafs pre-season game

The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Thursday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.

8:40 a.m. The Ontario government is changing regulations that will allow the Maple Leafs to open their pre-season in front of a half-full Scotiabank Arena this weekend, according to sources.

Approximately 9,500 fans will be permitted for Saturday night’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.

Provincial regulations had previously limited the Maple Leafs, Raptors and Ottawa Senators to a maximum of 1,000 fans per event. That number is being increased to 50 per cent of building capacity, with an eye toward bumping the amount of fans further over time if things progress well.

Read more from columnist Chris Johnston

8:30 a.m. (updated) The Blue Jays are hoping to boost fan support for their final homestand of the regular season, as well as a potential playoff run.

The club announced on Thursday it is working with provincial health officials on increasing ballpark capacity, in line with all public health protocols. Additional tickets will be sold for the team’s final six home games.

In the event that capacity limits are not approved by the government in time, “impacted ticket purchasers will be directly notified of their ticket cancellation and issued a refund via their original method of payment,” according to the Jays.

Read the full story from the Star’s Laura Armstrong

7:50 a.m. New York Transit officials have announced a crackdown on riders who skirt a state rule that requires them to wear a mask while on transit.

The new enforcement push begins Thursday, officials said. It comes more than a year after former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Sept. 10, 2020, order mandating all commuters in New York wear face masks or else face a $50 (U.S.) fine.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesman Michael Cortez said the agency’s police department has issued just 41 summonses to subway, bus and commuter railroad riders who flouted the mask mandate, or about one every nine days since the policy took effect.

That figure doesn’t include summonses that might have been issued by NYPD Transit Bureau officers.

MTA surveys conducted during the first six months of 2020 found more than 80 per cent of subway riders wore their masks over both their noses and mouths — but that figure dipped to 71 per cent in early July and remained below 75 per cent in early September.

6:21 a.m.: As Portugal closes in on its goal of fully vaccinating 85 per cent of the population against COVID-19 in nine months, other countries in Europe and beyond want to know how it was accomplished.

A lot of the credit is going to Rear Adm. Henrique Gouveia e Melo. With his team from the three branches of the armed forces, the naval officer took charge of the vaccine rollout in February — perhaps the moment of greatest tension in Portugal over the pandemic.

Now, the county could be just days away from hitting its target. As of Wednesday, 84 per cent of the total population was fully vaccinated, the highest globally, according to Our World in Data.

Along with the rising number of shots, the COVID-19 infection rate and hospitalizations from the virus have dropped to their lowest levels in nearly 18 months. Portugal could end many of its remaining pandemic restrictions in October — a coveted development for many countries still in the grip of the highly infectious delta variant and lagging in their own vaccination rollouts.

Previously unheralded outside the military, Gouveia e Melo is now a household name in Portugal, having made a point of going on television regularly to answer public concerns about the vaccination program.

Easily recognizable even behind a face mask due to his blue eyes, close-cropped salt-and-pepper hair and 1.93-meter (6-foot-3-inch) height, he's often greeted in the street by people wanting to thank him.

“People are very nice,” he says. But the 60-year-old officer also is quick to insist he is just “the tip of the iceberg” in the operation and that many others share the credit.

6:18 a.m.: Early last week, while dozens of anti-vaxxers flocked to downtown Toronto hospitals, roughly 4,500 Torontonians got their vaccines at clinics around the city.

Last week between Thursday and Sunday, during which anti-vaxxers protested COVID-19 mandates near Queen’s Park, nearly 8,000 doses of vaccine were administered to Torontonians at clinics all around the city — the result of its “Days of Vaxtion” mobile clinic blitz.

I’m not a statistician, but I’d wager that for every anti-vaxxer telling lies in Toronto there are thousands of unvaccinated Torontonians seriously considering getting the jab or lining up to do so. Day by day, week by week, the undecided are making good decisions.

This is in large part because the city’s vaccination campaign, once a gargantuan thing with millions of willing participants, is today pared down and hyper focused on immunizing hesitant stragglers.

Tenzin Wangmo helps those stragglers reach the finish line.

Read the column from the Star’s Emma Teitel

6:15 a.m.: With a month still to go before Ontario launches its vaccination verification app, concerns are being raised about how easy it is to modify the province’s existing vaccination certificates — potentially letting unvaccinated people gain access to restaurants, bars, gyms and even flights.

According to forensic document examiner Shabnam Preet Kaur, the existing vaccination certificates, which are in the form of Portable Document Format (PDF) files, can be quickly edited to change the name, birthdate and other personal information using a number of easily accessible programs.

For instance, Microsoft Word allows a user to open the watermarked vaccine certificate and change the name and other identifying information to that of an unvaccinated person, then re-save the file as a PDF. The Star verified that this can be done quickly and easily using the existing software found on most home computers.

Read the full story from the Star’s Rosa Saba

5:59 a.m.: Is the delta variant of the coronavirus worse for kids?

No, experts say there’s no strong evidence yet that it makes children and teens sicker than earlier versions of the virus, although delta has led to a surge in infections among kids because it’s more contagious.

Delta’s ability to spread more easily makes it more of a risk to children and underscores the need for masks in schools and vaccinations for those who are old enough, said Dr. Juan Dumois, a pediatric infectious disease physician at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Weekly infection rates among U.S. children earlier this month topped 250,000, surpassing the wintertime peak, according to data from the American Academy of Pediatrics and Children’s Hospital Association. Since the pandemic began, more than 5 million children in the U.S. have tested positive for COVID-19.

The delta variant has been identified in at least 180 countries, according to the World Health Organization. In many of them, the spike in infections has also meant an increase in hospitalizations in young children and teens.

In the U.S., the hospitalization rate for COVID-19 was less than 2 per 100,000 children in late August and early September — similar to the peak last winter, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But the portion of kids hospitalized with severe disease hasn’t changed significantly.

The sheer numbers can make it seem like children are getting sicker with the delta variant, but experts say that does not appear to be the case. Most infected kids have mild infections or no symptoms and do not need to be hospitalized.

5:58 a.m.: A lawyer has told an Idaho legislative committee the state should adopt a health policy making vaccine status a private medical record that employees could refuse to make available to employers as a way to thwart President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate.

Attorney Christ Troupis told the legislature’s Committee on Federalism on Wednesday that such a policy would insulate employers from potential federal penalties involving coronavirus vaccine mandates.

The committee is looking for potential legislation that could draw enough support among lawmakers to reconvene the legislature before it meets for its regular session in January.

The committee that deals with state sovereignty issues took no action, but plans to meet again Tuesday.

5:57 a.m.: Michigan has recorded more than 1 million confirmed cases of coronavirus infections since the start of the pandemic.

Officials said Wednesday that the state crossed that threshold by reporting 6,079 new cases over the last two days. There have been at least 20,781 deaths in Michigan linked to COVID-19, the disease that can be caused by the virus.

The state health department says nearly 58% of eligible Michigan residents 12 and older are fully vaccinated.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, meanwhile, tells The Detroit News that he worries another “major wave” of cases is coming this fall. He adds that because of staff shortages at hospitals, “I think we’re going to have a major problem in Michigan in the next couple of months.”

5:57 a.m.: The Australian state of Victoria is reporting its biggest daily increase in coronavirus cases since the pandemic began as an outbreak in the city of Melbourne continues to grow.

Police in Melbourne are preparing for more protests against the pandemic lockdown, although the situation remains relatively calm Thursday afternoon.

Victoria reported a record 766 cases as well as four deaths from COVID-19.

The city of Sydney in New South Wales state is also dealing with a large outbreak. Officials report more than 1,000 new daily cases in the state and six COVID-19 deaths.

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews says the state will ease lockdown rules by the end of the month, to allow people to return from Sydney and quarantine at home if they are fully vaccinated.

5:57 a.m.: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she doesn’t want to use lockdowns in the future and sees vaccinations as the “golden ticket” to navigating the pandemic.

Her remarks came as Auckland remained in a sixth week of lockdown following an outbreak of the coronavirus’ delta variant.

New Zealand has taken an unusual zero-tolerance approach to the virus and is trying to completely eliminate the outbreak in its largest city through drastic measures, at least until vaccination rates improve. Fifteen more local transmissions were reported Thursday.

Ardern says she sees a hopeful path in using vaccinations coupled with public health measures to prevent widespread hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19. About 62% of New Zealanders have had at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine.

5:50 a.m.: CBRE Group Inc. says the national office vacancy rate hit 15.7 per cent in the third quarter for the highest level since 1994 as people continue to work from home because of COVID-19.

The commercial real estate firm says that a fourth wave has slowed an expected return to work, helping push up the vacancy rate from 15.3 per cent in the last quarter.

It does, however, say that leasing activity is picking up, driven especially by demand from the technology sector, and that four of 10 major Canadian markets saw increased occupancy.

Vancouver’s vacancy rate remains the lowest at 7.4 per cent, while Toronto stands at 13.7 per cent and Calgary at 30.1 per cent.

The story is quite different on the industrial front, where vacancies are low as demand for distribution and logistics space remains at an all-time high.

CBRE says the national vacancy rate for industrial space was at two per cent in the quarter, while several markets including Vancouver, London, the Waterloo Region and Toronto have availability rates of less than a per cent.

Source : Toronto Star More   

What's Your Reaction?

like
0
dislike
0
love
0
funny
0
angry
0
sad
0
wow
0

Next Article

Blue Jays working with province to increase capacity for fans at Rogers Centre during final homestand

The Blue Jays are hoping to boost fan support for their final homestand of the regular season, as well as a potential playoff run.The club announced on Thursday it is working with provincial health officials on increasing ballpark capacity, in line with all public health protocols. Additional tickets will be sold for the team’s final six home games.In the event that capacity limits are not approved by the government in time, “impacted ticket purchasers will be directly notified of their ticket cancellation and issued a refund via their original method of payment,” according to the Jays.The Jays returned to the Rogers Centre on July 30, 670 days after its last game in city because of border restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The team has since been playing in front of up to 15,000 fans, under Stage 3 of Ontario’s recovery plan.“The Blue Jays are in the final days of a heated postseason wild card race and need fan support more than ever to create the home field advantage that our fans and team deserve down the stretch,” the team said in a statement. The Jays are now a half-game behind the Yankees for the second wild-card spot after Thursday’s action with a little more than a week left in the season.Toronto is expected to release extra seats in the 100 and 200 levels and open up sections in the 500 level, with tickets in that level starting at $15. Rogers Centre is not expected to return to full capacity with the sale of the additional tickets but the extra seats could represent a good bump in crowd size. As of the most recent homestand, which began on Sept. 13, the organization is requiring proof of full COVID-19 vaccination for all fans aged 12 and older entering Rogers Centre. A negative COVID-19 test is no longer acceptable, except for individuals with a doctor’s note indicating they cannot receive the vaccine due to medical exemptions.The Jays play the New York Yankees at Rogers Centre next week from Tuesday to Thursday and the Baltimore Orioles from Oct. 1 to Oct. 3, in the final two series of the regular season. Laura Armstrong is a Star sports reporter based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @lauraarmy

Blue Jays working with province to increase capacity for fans at Rogers Centre during final homestand

The Blue Jays are hoping to boost fan support for their final homestand of the regular season, as well as a potential playoff run.

The club announced on Thursday it is working with provincial health officials on increasing ballpark capacity, in line with all public health protocols. Additional tickets will be sold for the team’s final six home games.

In the event that capacity limits are not approved by the government in time, “impacted ticket purchasers will be directly notified of their ticket cancellation and issued a refund via their original method of payment,” according to the Jays.

The Jays returned to the Rogers Centre on July 30, 670 days after its last game in city because of border restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The team has since been playing in front of up to 15,000 fans, under Stage 3 of Ontario’s recovery plan.

“The Blue Jays are in the final days of a heated postseason wild card race and need fan support more than ever to create the home field advantage that our fans and team deserve down the stretch,” the team said in a statement.

The Jays are now a half-game behind the Yankees for the second wild-card spot after Thursday’s action with a little more than a week left in the season.

Toronto is expected to release extra seats in the 100 and 200 levels and open up sections in the 500 level, with tickets in that level starting at $15. Rogers Centre is not expected to return to full capacity with the sale of the additional tickets but the extra seats could represent a good bump in crowd size.

As of the most recent homestand, which began on Sept. 13, the organization is requiring proof of full COVID-19 vaccination for all fans aged 12 and older entering Rogers Centre. A negative COVID-19 test is no longer acceptable, except for individuals with a doctor’s note indicating they cannot receive the vaccine due to medical exemptions.

The Jays play the New York Yankees at Rogers Centre next week from Tuesday to Thursday and the Baltimore Orioles from Oct. 1 to Oct. 3, in the final two series of the regular season.

Laura Armstrong is a Star sports reporter based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @lauraarmy

Source : Toronto Star More   

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.