Russia's Navalny says he's now more than 'technically alive'
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny said he is recovering his verbal and physical abilities at the German hospital where he is being treated for suspected nerve agent poisoning but that he at first felt despair over his condition.
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Manitoba RCMP looking for suspect with stolen vehicle, firearms
Police in Stonewall say a 24-year-old woman has been arrested but a male suspect is still at large, and believed to be armed.
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Ontario wasn't ready for the COVID-19 testing surge, even though it was entirely predictable
Dr. Andrea Chittle started sounding the alarm in late June. For weeks, the numbers at the COVID testing site where she works, in Guelph, Ont., had been climbing. “Today, we will likely perform 400 covid tests in #Guelph,” she wrote on Twitter on June 24. The current #ONhealth testing strategy is not rational. It is a waste of system resources.” The new demand, she said, was being driven by people who didn’t really need tests. They didn’t have COVID symptoms. They had no known exposures. They hadn’t travelled out of province. But the new mandate from the provincial government, after months of test austerity, was clear: anyone who wants a test can get a test. And so get them people did. Patients were coming in because they wanted to go to a wedding, or a cottage weekend with friends. Some were getting tests before seeing family. Others were getting them just for peace of mind, “’I haven’t contracted COVID from this possibly risky thing that I’ve done,’” Chittle said. Even back then, Chittle knew this was going to be a problem. She said so, publicly, online, all summer long. “We need to free up testing capacity in advance of (an) expected fall surge,” she wrote on August 19. Suffice to say, Chittle isn’t thrilled at how right she turned out to be. COVID testing centres in many parts of Ontario have been completely overwhelmed in recent weeks, driven, experts believe, by a mix of lax testing criteria, an increase in community spread and strict daycare and school rules that require anyone with a sniffle to get a test before returning to class. National Post View: Ontario's COVID-19 testing nightmare Marni Soupcoff: Withholding rapid COVID-19 testing just doesn't make sense Erin O’Toole, the new leader of the federal opposition, couldn’t get a test in Ottawa this week after being exposed to a known case. He had to go across the river to Quebec. One Ottawa testing centre reached its maximum daily capacity the moment it opened Friday morning. Online, tales abound of day-long waits in outdoor lines that stretch blocks and spill out into fields and parking lots. The thing is, experts and frontline workers say, this surge was entirely predictable. Chittle, among others, had been literally predicting it for months. “Not only should we have seen this coming,” said Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an epidemiologist and infectious disease specialist at the University of Toronto. “There are many who did see it coming and who were vocal about this.” The question now is, if that’s the case, why wasn’t the government ready? “It’s just absolutely shocking that we are where we’re at today,” said Dr. Andrew Morris, also an infectious disease specialist at the University of Toronto. “We’ve had months to do this.” After a slow start, Ontario rapidly ramped up its COVID testing capacity this spring. The province hit 10,000 tests a day in late April, 20,000 daily tests by late May and 33,500 on June 26. After that, growth basically stalled. The province didn’t hit 35,000 tests a day until last week. As of Sept. 17, it still had yet to hit 36,000. Those numbers were fine in a province still on lockdown, with schools out, daycares closed, offices still empty and cold and flu season still months away. But experts say the fall was always going to be worse. Was the current surge predictable? “Yes,” said Dr. Nitin Mohan a physician epidemiologist at Western University. “And I don’t even want to elaborate on that. It’s a yes. And it’s a yes with an exclamation point.” Right now, getting a COVID test in some parts of Ontario is an experience akin to buying a pair of Levi’s in communist Warsaw. Laura Desveaux came down with a mild sore throat last Friday. Her six-month-old younger son already had a runny nose, so when her symptoms didn’t go away by the next morning, she decided to get a test. That decision sparked a multi-day odyssey for Desveaux that saw her try four different centres, spend hours in lineups, on foot and by car, and still not come out the other side with a test. On her third try, at a Toronto-area hospital she had been turned away from the night before, Desveaux arrived in the morning to find a line that already stretched out of sight. “ You could see the front door, because it had wrapped all the way back around (the block),” she said. “I was like, this is insane. What happens when it gets colder?” Desveaux, who works in health care herself, had nothing but praise for the actual staff she dealt with. “They’re just overwhelmed,” she said. The question is, why don’t they have more resources? The National Post asked Health Minister Christine Elliott’s office why the province wasn’t more prepared for this surge. Anna Miller, a spokeswoman for Ontario Health, replied in a statement that the ministry is looking at allowing pharmacies to perform some COVID tests and is considering some new, more rapid testing technology. The province is also adding pop-up testing centres and increasing the hours at some existing sites in the hardest hit regions of the province, including Toronto, Peel and Ottawa. “As the ministry continues its broad capacity planning efforts into fall, the Testing Strategy will also evolve to ensure testing continues to be available to those who need it most,” she said. Experts, however, say all of that should have happened months ago. “Why are we not up to a capacity of a hundred thousand (tests) per day?” said Morris. “To me it is mind boggling.” For now, Bogoch and others believe, until the situation dramatically improves, the message should be made clear: if you don’t have COVID symptoms or known exposure, you shouldn’t be getting a test. “In a perfect world with infinite resources, it would be great to provide testing for everyone on a regular basis,” Bogoch said. But this is not a perfect world. It’s just Ontario. • Email: rwarnica@nationalpost.com | Twitter: richardwarnica
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Protests resume in Portland after smoke from wildfire clears
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COVID-19 task force worries Trump's rush to approve vaccine will spook Canadians
Members of the federal government's COVID-19 vaccine task force are casting worried eyes at the Trump administration's political push to get a vaccine approved before the U.S. presidential election in November.
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Why is there a shortage of canned soda pop in Canada?
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2 dead, 14 wounded after shooting at party in New York: police
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Circus company 7 Doigts de la main is inching back into action
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13 of the week’s best long reads from the Star, Sept. 12 to 18, 2020
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Nursing home doctors were repeatedly asked to visit residents during the COVID-19 outbreak. They didn’t come. As virus resurges, Ontario considers new rules
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How death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg could reshape the U.S. election
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Putin critic Navalny says he’s recovering at German hospital after poisoning
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Steven Heighton: On hope and embracing the smallest life you can love
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Motherhood has made my fun wife angry and resentful: Ask Ellie
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Southern California rattled by 4.5 magnitude earthquake
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Task force worries Trump’s rush to approve COVID-19 vaccine will cause concern in Canada
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Josh Freed: Scamsters' phishing expeditions adding to our COVID angst
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Horoscope for Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020
Daily horoscope
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‘We want to get rid of them’: Thailand protesters plan biggest anti-government rally yet
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Reports of an “active shooter” in Airdrie turn out to be BB gun-related: RCMP
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Trump’s release of Puerto Rico aid ahead of election comes after years of attacks, denials
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Two victims rushed to hospital after shooting at Richmond restaurant
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