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In today's Morning Brief, we look at the North Vancouver long-term care home where 10 people have died and dozens more have become infected in the coronavirus outbreak. We also have stories on airlines giving people credit instead of refunds for cancelled flights, and warnings over homemade hand sanitizers.

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Families caught in COVID-19 outbreak at B.C. care home say system left seniors at risk

With 10 dead and several dozen more infected, the COVID-19 outbreak has moved through North Vancouver's Lynn Valley Care Centre in much the same way as it has the rest of the world. It preyed on vulnerabilities in a labour force and private-care industry that seem obvious in hindsight.

A day after B.C.'s provincial health officer announced an outbreak at the long-term care home, the children of the centre's aging residents descended on the facility. Deanna Harlow recalls a chaotic scene. Her sister told her there were only two people working on her 96-year-old father's floor. Some aides were in isolation, at home with suspected cases of the novel coronavirus. And replacements were scared to come to the facility.

Residents were isolated in their rooms. Harlow estimates there must be about 45 units on the floor, each housing a patient. Many had complex problems. Catheters. Colostomy bags. Nearly all were wearing adult diapers.

A nurse arrived, meaning that three employees were now tending to a floor that would normally require at least twice that many workers, Harlow said. The families pitched in to deliver meals and tend to patient needs.

"Several patients, they were bedridden with a wet, wet diaper and calling out incessantly for help," said Harlow. "It was just — it was mayhem."

The outbreak exposed weaknesses in the system, but what has happened at the Lynn Valley Care Centre is also a tale of a community's response to a tragedy; of a home to many of the North Shore's oldest residents, now transformed into the face of the pandemic in Canada; of children and adults determined to support seniors isolated by the threat of death.gary law professor. "It means that we may be creating barriers to victims." Read more on this story here.

Staying in race shape

(Ina Fassbender/AFP/Getty Images)

Ben Zwiehoff, a member of the German national mountain biking team training for the Olympics, works on his balance on his bike in his apartment as he practices social distancing due to the spread of the novel coronavirus in Essen, Germany.

In brief

Canadian airlines are telling grounded passengers without travel insurance they won't be getting a refund for flights cancelled because of COVID-19 — only travel credits. A group of 43 people that were to go to the Dominican Republic for a wedding on March 25 is out about $80,000, said bride-to-be Jillian Wilson of Stratford, Ont. She said Sunwing initially said it would refund the money but then changed its policy, saying only travel credits good for 24 months from the original travel date would be issued. WestJet and Air Canada have implemented the same policy. Consumer lawyer Jeff Orenstein says airlines can't force travellers who want refunds to take credit, because businesses have a legal responsibility to refund customers in the same method they paid. Read more about this story here.

Doctors and public health officials are bracing for an onslaught of new COVID-19 cases from people exposed before closures and social distancing measures began. Given that it takes up to 14 days for symptoms of COVID-19 to appear, it is too early to tell how much of an effect the physical distancing measures and closures are having in Canada, said Dr. Stephanie Smith, director of infection prevention and control at the University of Alberta. "It's become very clear that the earlier you can institute these measures, the better off you're going to be," Smith said. Read why experts say social distancing can't be relaxed yet.

Major Toronto hospitals are rationing surgical masks amid the current COVID-19 pandemic, and in some cases, even urging nurses and other front-line staff to use just one mask for an entire shift, according to memos obtained by CBC News. Provincial officials have said there are enough supplies in Ontario for health-care workers, and that more masks have been ordered and are on the way. But some front-line workers in the Greater Toronto Area say they feel their safety is increasingly at risk. Read more here.

Recipes for homemade hand sanitizer concoctions have been multiplying online, but experts are warning that many of the DIY solutions are ineffective — even harmful. Dr. Alyson Kelvin, an assistant professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax and a member of the Canadian Centre for Vaccinology, says people should be careful to avoid any component that's going to lead to a toxic reaction on their hands. "We don't need any more people in the hospitals right now," Kelvin told CBC News. Read more on this story here.

Those who say the value of human life cannot be measured may not know one of the dark secrets of economics. According to the calculations of economists, human life does, indeed, have a price.  Read more analysis from CBC business and economics columnist Don Pittis here.

As politicians and public health officials deploy different measures to try to contain the spread of COVID-19, the message is clear: Stay home. But with schools shut and many parents now working from home, finding accessible and affordable ways to keep kids entertained can be a challenge. Read here as CBC's Eli Glasner runs down the best online library and streaming options for families that don't require a monthly subscription.

Now for some good news to start your Thursday: Alexandra Kane is a London, Ont., music teacher who suddenly has a lot of time on her hands. So do her brother and his fiancée, also music teachers. So the three got together recently and recorded a cover of Justin Bieber's hit song Yummy, but with some distinctly different lyrics. "Don't go get the COVID-19," the two women sing while Jordan Kane plays the keyboard and beatboxes. Read more and watch them perform their take on the song here.

Front Burner: Inside the COVID-19 'mayhem' at B.C.'s Lynn Valley Care Centre

The majority of B.C's 14 deaths related to COVID-19 have been from one place: the Lynn Valley Care Centre. As of Wednesday, 42 residents and 21 health-care workers had tested positive for the illness and 11 people had died. Today on Front Burner, CBC Vancouver senior reporter Jason Proctor helps us understand how the outbreak there happened, and what impact it might have on other long-term care homes in the region.

Today in history: March 26

1885: The first battle of the Northwest Rebellion takes place between North West Mounted Police and Metis troops at Duck Lake, Sask. 

1908: Prince Edward Island bans all automobiles. The first car had appeared on the island three years earlier, causing such a controversy that the law banning the operation of any motor vehicle was passed. That law lasted until 1913.

1921: The racing schooner Bluenose is launched at Lunenberg, N.S.

1992: Barbara Frum, a leading broadcast journalist of her generation, dies of leukemia in Toronto at age 54. She's remembered for her years as host of CBC Radio's As It Happens and CBC television's The Journal. 

1997: Calgary-based Bre-X Minerals admits there is a strong possibility that the estimated size of its Indonesian gold deposit has been "overstated." The find was later found to be a hoax.

2003: Ontario declares a provincial health emergency as the number of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) cases jumps to 62. 

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

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