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In today's Morning Brief, we look at an Ontario nursing home where healthy residents were separated from those believed to have been infected with the coronavirus last week, after 16 people had already died. We also look at anxiety among young people amid the pandemic.

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16 people died at Ont. nursing home before sick residents were separated from the healthy

An Ontario nursing home besieged by COVID-19 didn't separate healthy from sick residents or staff until after 16 people had died, and two weeks after the home declared a respiratory outbreak, CBC News has learned.

The disease has claimed the lives of more than a third of the residents at Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon, Ont. A note last month from the home's administrator said residents had been "isolated into separate areas," but that didn't happen until last week.

Efforts to move people to isolated parts of the nursing home, which houses 65 residents, were hampered by space constraints, and private rooms only became available after some of the residents with COVID-19 died, a nurse at the home said.

"That's the reason why we actually have the space now. Because we've lost ... residents," said Sarah Gardiner, who has worked at the Pinecrest Nursing Home for 12 years. "But before, there really was not the space to do that. It would have been an impossibility, I think."

CBC News has learned that Pinecrest Nursing Home administrator Mary Carr sent an email on April 3 to staff and to members of residents' families stating the facility had implemented changes in the previous three days.

Those changes included moving all the residents who were ill to one section of the home to distance them from healthy residents and mitigate any potential spread of the virus.

By April 3, the death toll at the nursing home had risen to 16. As of yesterday, 26 residents had died, and so had one volunteer whose husband is a resident. Read more on this story here.

Going to market

 (Gent Shkullaku/AFP/Getty Images)

A man gets disinfected prior to going to a market yesterday in Tirana, Albania, as authorities take measures to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.

In brief

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is fighting worsening coronavirus symptoms in an intensive care unit, leaving his foreign minister to lead the government's response to the accelerating outbreak. Johnson was admitted to hospital in London on Sunday after suffering persistent coronavirus symptoms, including a high temperature and a cough, for more than 10 days. His condition rapidly deteriorated over the next 24 hours, and he was moved to an intensive care unit, where the most serious cases are treated. Although he had received oxygen, his office said he was still conscious and was moved to intensive care in case he needed to be put on a ventilator. Read more about Johnson's condition here.

This is a new, scary world, and for many children and young people across the country it has led to soaring levels of anxiety. Katherine Hay, the president and CEO of Kids Help Phone, a 24/7 free online and telephone counselling service for youth, says traffic on its website is at an unprecedented high. Calls for help are doubling every week, climbing to nearly 2,000 a day. They come in the form of texts, phone calls and some live chat. Children as young as five are reaching out. The percentage of acute cases is also rising with the added volume of calls, Hay says. About 20 per cent of the young people Kids Help Phone responds to are contemplating suicide. Read more about the anxiety young people are feeling during the pandemic

Post-secondary students who've seen internships or jobs disappear as the economic downturn worsens have been left wondering how they'll pay for school next year. But unlike other workers, students say they can't necessarily rely on federal government help. The Canada emergency response benefit (CERB) applies to people who lost their income due to the pandemic for at least 14 consecutive days in the last month. Students who don't have a minimum annual income of $5,000, or who have not worked consistently throughout the academic year, won't qualify for funding. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged these concerns yesterday and said his government is working to fill the gap. Read more about the situation college and university students are facing.

The COVID-19 outbreak is currently more severe in Canada's two largest provinces than it is in British Columbia. Whether you go by confirmed cases or hospitalizations, by raw numbers or a per capita comparison, the spread of the coronavirus has steadily grown in Ontario and Quebec. But in B.C., hospitalizations and active cases have been flat for the last week. The disease growth curve, at least at this point, has been flattened. "It's very hard to know exactly why," B.C.'s chief medical health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said yesterday. "Some parts of it are luck, and some parts of it are being prepared." Read more here why B.C.'s curve has been flattening

Liquor store sales increased across the country in March as shoppers stocked up to wait out the COVID-19 outbreak. That has some addiction experts warning that those packed fridges and liquor cabinets mixed with hours of isolation at home could lead to much higher consumption, even among Canadians who typically drink in moderation. "I think that what this crisis we're in might have revealed is that, for an important number of Canadians, perhaps alcohol is more essential to them in their lives than they thought it was," said Catherine Paradis of the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction. Read why some experts think isolation and booze could be a dangerous mix.

Pandemic-related shutdowns are having a deep economic impact, and it might appear as though there could be a silver lining: reduced CO2 emissions. However, scientists say it's not that simple. A decline in CO2 emissions has been observed in China — an estimated 25 per cent — and similar drops are expected in northern Europe, where countries like Italy have been under lockdown for more than a month. But it's a drop in the bucket, scientists say. That's due to two main factors: one, there's a difference in CO2 emissions and atmospheric concentrations of CO2; and two, any declines are expected to be short-lived. Read more on the decline in emissions here.

Now for some good news to start your Tuesday: A nine-year-old boy in North Vancouver who wanted to help the fight against COVID-19 has raised more than $3,000 for healthy snacks to keep health-care workers going at Lions Gate Hospital. Bear Yeung kicked off his fundraiser with $70 of his own money after speaking with a friend of his father's, an ER doctor who said hospital staff work long hours and need nutritious food and electrolytes to sustain them. Bear got on the phone and called friends near and far, asking for donations. After he raised about $2,000, another friend of the family helped set up an online donation page and he was able to raise another $1,000. Bear's father, Kevin Yeung, says he's never been more proud of his son. "It showed the little guy has compassion," Kevin said. Read more about the boy's fundraising efforts.

Front Burner: Overdoses and COVID-19 on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside

Self-isolation and physical distancing are straightforward public health orders for most Canadians, but it's a near-impossible challenge for people without adequate housing. That's clear in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, a dense neighbourhood with a large population of homeless people, who are now at risk of COVID-19. But the challenges don't stop there — the community has been battling another public health crisis for years: drug poisoning and overdoses. Today on Front Burner, Garth Mullins, host of the podcast Crackdown, tells us what that means for drug users.

Today in history: April 7

1868: Thomas D'Arcy McGee, one of the most brilliant orators in Canadian parliamentary history, is assassinated in Ottawa by a member of the Fenian Brotherhood. The Irish-born Father of Confederation worked as a journalist and poet before first being elected to the Canadian legislature in 1858. He denounced the Fenians, a militant Irish-American group dedicated to securing Irish  independence. His assassin, Patrick James Whelan, was convicted and hanged the following year.

1977: The Toronto Blue Jays play their inaugural regular season game. After a pre-game snowstorm at Exhibition Stadium, the Blue Jays got two home runs from first baseman Doug Ault on their way to beating the visiting Chicago White Sox 9-5.

2008: A British jury rules that Diana, the Princess of Wales, and her companion Dodi Fayed, were unlawfully killed due to reckless speed and drinking by their driver, and by the reckless pursuit of paparazzi chasing them.

2019: World-renowned Canadian pioneer of heart surgery and former senator Dr. Wilbert Keon dies in Ottawa at the age of 83. He founded the University of Ottawa Heart Institute and in 1986 performed Canada's first artificial-heart implantation, which was revolutionary for the time. Keon performed more than 10,000 open-heart surgeries during a career that spanned more than three decades.

With files from The Canadian Press, The Associated Press and Reuters

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