Doctors feeling anxious, burned out after a year of dealing with the pandemic, survey finds

They’re tired, anxious and, over a few days in late February, they didn’t think the was going all that well. As Ontario lurches toward the first anniversary of the pandemic lockdown, the province’s doctors are burned out just like the rest of us, a new survey has found. “Physicians are experiencing the same types of restrictions and social isolation as the rest of Canadians,” said Ann Collins, president of the Canadian Medical Association. The survey, conducted by the CMA between Feb. 18 and 22, found that 65 per cent of roughly 1,700 respondents said they were having anxiety around the pandemic. And over the last year, the survey indicates, their fatigue has increased by 69 per cent. More than 60 per cent of respondents said the reasons for their negative feelings included the length of the social restrictions and the continued uncertainty over the future. And yet, according to Collins, the survey found that only about 16 per cent of respondents indicated that they had reached out to someone else for help. “They are using self-help measures,” Collins said. “But very few of them are seeking help (from others). That means that we have work to do in terms of why that is.” The survey, that aimed to gauge the mental well-being among Canada’s doctors, also revealed that in late February, at least, when the survey was offered, the physicians felt the vaccine rollout across the country was rocky. A whopping 93 per cent of r […]

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Today’s coronavirus news: Ontario reports 423 cases, most in nearly two months; COVID hospitalizations rise in Florida; Iran records highest number of new infections, deaths

The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Sunday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available. 7:30 p.m.: Florida’s hospitalizations for COVID-19 continue an unabated rise, according to numbers released Sunday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The 13,793 novel coronavirus patients in 251 hospitals in Sunday’s HHS update represented a relatively small spike from the 13,747 reported Saturday. Similarly small was the increase in intensive care unit beds used for COVID-19 patients, 2,767 from 2,750. But they were increases. Also, lest there be any doubt the pandemic’s resurgence is a bigger problem for Florida hospitals than hospitals elsewhere, 24.4 per cent of all Florida hospital patients are classified as COVID-19 patients — compared with 8.7 per cent nationally. As for ICU beds, 43.8 per cent of those are taken up by COVID-19 patients in Florida. Nationally, that number is 19.4 per cent. 3 p.m.: The number of COVID-19 infections continues to steadily rise in New Brunswick, with the province reporting 20 new cases today stemming from a two-day period. Health officials say the province now has 75 active cases with no current hospitalizations. The Moncton region recorded 16 new infections, with six cases among people in their 20s, four people in their 30s, two in their 50s, two people aged 19 and under, one person in their 40s and one in their 80s. Eight of the cases in Monc […]

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Martin Regg Cohn: Doug Ford helped create a crisis for Ontario’s universities. Now it’s up to him to save them

Bleeding cash, Ontario’s universities are begging for a $500 million cash infusion to stay alive during COVID-19. Cry me a river, you say. Everyone is hurting and many are dying in mid-pandemic. The ivory tower high in the sky may be bottom of the list for heartbreak stories that command public attention — and, in turn, catch the eye of politicians in power. But government never fails to surprise us — for better or for worse, in good times and bad. If $500 million sounds like a lot, consider this unexpected good news from a normally hard-nosed, hard-hearted, hard-headed politician: “The need is real and it is urgent,” the , proceeding to announce precisely that amount in emergency funding just last week, just in time: “They need ongoing operating funding in 2021 and it’s important that we step up and provide more financial relief,” he continued, because the government’s “partners are on the front lines.” Oh wait — wrong ministry, different constituency. Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Clark wasn’t talking about those universities in need but the municipalities he minds — meaning all those politically connected mayors (yes he was one, once). University presidents aren’t quite so well represented at the cabinet table. Nor do university students — confined to quarters amid COVID-19 — wield the same political clout. But if Ford’s Tories can find a cool $500 million for mun […]

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‘Hazardous conditions’: Nottawasaga conservation authority reminds public of spring dangers around waterways

The Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority (NVCA) is reminding the public to stay well back from waterways, ditches, ponds and lakes this time of year. With spring-like temperatures arriving soon, unsafe ice and slippery banks already exist. The onset of spring will bring rain and melting snow, which will cause the breakup of ice along watercourses and lakes, as well as high stream flows. “These hazardous conditions can cause life-threatening injury if a person falls into the extremely cold water,” the NVCA stated in a press release. Residents are also being reminded to: • Keep family and pets away from the edge of waterways. • Supervise children and help them understand the dangers of playing near creeks and streams. • Avoid all recreational activities in or around water, especially near ice jams or ice-covered watercourses and waterbodies. • Do not attempt to walk on ice-covered waterbodies or drive through flooded roads or fast-moving water. The NVCA continues to monitor waterways and will issue flood messages as conditions warrant. For more information, call .

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Clearview council considers sewer options for Sunnidale Street

Residents along Sunnidale Street will need to wait before they find out what the bill could be to run sewers under the road. Clearview Township councillors were presented with options for sewer services for a residential project on the eastern edge of Stayner. The Manortown Homes project would include more than 80 homes. While the developer and municipality would be funding part of the cost of the sewer, some of the cost would also be borne by some of the existing residents on the street who are currently on septic systems. Public works director Mike Rawn said the preference, based on an environmental assessment completed earlier this year, is to build infrastructure that could service current and future development in the south-east quadrant of town — not just Manortown and existing residents. The work, based on the preferred solution, would see a new sewer and pumping station on Sunnidale, and replacement and upsizing of the sewer on Phillips Street. Design work on the project will likely get underway this spring, and construction could begin in spring, 2022. Consulting engineer Jennifer Georgas, of R.J. Burnside, said that should council desire, the sewer project would also open up the opportunity to connect residents on Sunnidale Street to the municipal system, and it could be part of an overhaul of the road that would include curbs, storm sewer, sidewalks, a water main, and street lights. The cost to install the sewer on its own would be $2.8 million, while a full […]

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Ottawa looks to introduce vaccine passports for Canadians going abroad

OTTAWA—It took three cabinet ministers and a late-day news conference on the eve of an expected election to announce that maybe by early fall Canada will introduce its version of an international to allow Canadians to prove their vaccination status when they travel abroad. Marco Mendicino, Dominic LeBlanc and Omar Alghabra, the ministers of immigration, intergovernmental affairs and transport, took to Zoom to repeat much the same thing that they told reporters in mid-June: they’re working on it. At this point there are few details. Mendicino told the Star in an interview later what’s in the works: provincially-issued vaccination documents would be made accessible to the federal government in a “safe” (meaning privacy-protected) way. That will allow Ottawa to issue a QR code (basically, a machine-readable matrix code like those ones you see when you touchlessly check out a restaurant menu these days) and display the federal certification that a traveller going abroad from Canada is vaccinated. Available to Canadian citizens, permanent residents or temporary residents of Canada, the Canadian-government approved “proof of vaccination credential” is expected to indicate the individual’s vaccination history: the type of vaccine, along with when and where it was received. Except that the ministers could offer no assurance that any foreign country would necessarily accept it; no assurance that any country would necessarily allow entry […]

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‘This was, by no means, an easy decision’: Martyrs’ Shrine to remain closed for 2021

For the second year in a row, Martyrs’ Shrine will not reopen its church and grounds to the public.  Director Fr. Michael Knox recently made the decision to keep the national shrine closed for the 2021 season, stating it would not be feasible to return to normal operations in a safe and financially viable manner. “Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the proposed inoculation schedule of the federal government, it is clear that the church and grounds of Martyrs’ Shrine will not open to the general public this season, but will resume normal operations in May 2022,” said Knox . “This was, by no means, an easy decision. However, putting your health and well being ahead of our own, I had to stare clearly at the facts.” Although vaccination clinics are being ramped up across the province, Knox said he believes it is unlikely social-distancing protocols would allow for the usual sizable gatherings to congregate at Martyrs’ Shrine. The pandemic has critically impacted the financial stability of the shrine, which is a charitable not-for-profit organization. The decision to keep the facility closed was made in order to mitigate further financial burden.  Martyrs’ Shrine has also laid off a significant number of staff and restructured administrative and seasonal staffing, in order to reduce operating expenses. Over the next 12 months, the shrine will reach out to its pilgrims, providing mass, prayer services, spiritual conver […]

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