A covid-19 assessment centre is opening today in Smith Falls.

The centre will be located outside the hospital and will test patients from their car.

Anyone wishing to be tested will have to have an appointment, which are made by referral only.

The drive-thru covid centre in Smith Falls opens at 8am this morning.

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The town of Prescott now has more ammunition.

The town declaring a state of emergency to give it additional powers to protect health and safety.

Mayor Brett Todd says he made the declaration to  raise public awareness, preserve the rights of the town to  any future support and ensure quick response to unforeseen events.

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There are 8 new cases on covid-19 in our area.

Four of the cases are in Ottawa.

– a girl under the age 18, which is travel related.

– a man in his 50’s who is in hospital.

– and two women, one in her 50’s and one in her 60’s both who had close contact with  a confirmed case.

There is also a woman from Belleville in her 20’s.

On the Quebec side, three more cases were added in the Outaouis.

There are now 48 cases in Eastern Ontario, half of the cases in Ottawa.

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The National Capital Commission  has decided to temporarily close Gatineau Park in light of  public health advisories discouraging non-essential trips and gatherings.

The park closed at 9 p.m. last night.

The NCC believes keeping the park open  would jeopardize public health, including the safety of its users, NCC staff and personnel, and the residents of neighbouring municipalities.

All NCC parking lots in Gatineau park will be closed until further notice.,

In the meantime, NCC pathways and trail networks outside of Gatineau park remain accessible to users,

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Canada Post announcing it’s making a number of changes to try to slow the spread of covid 19.

The delivery person will now knock on your door or ring the door bell, choose a safe location to leave your item, then take off.

This means you won’t have to sign for packages anymore.

But any item that requires ID or a customs payment will be sent to a nearby post office many of which will now open an hour later and close an hour earlier.

And the first hour of each day will provide priority service to those who are of higher risk, including seniors, and those with compromised immune systems.

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Premier Doug Ford has ordered that all non-essential businesses shut their doors starting at 11:59 p-m.

The closures start tonight and will last for at least 14 days.

Ontarians will still have access to grocery stores and pharmacies, and their power and telecommunications will continue to run.

Ford says the closures are necessary to further curb the spread of COVID-19.

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Premier Doug Ford says schools will likely have to stay closed longer than first expected.

Ford originally ordered the province’s schools to close until April 6th, or two weeks after the March Break.

He now says that likely won’t be enough time and class will be out of session longer.

He did not estimate when schools may be able to reopen.

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Members for all federal parties are expected to come together today in Ottawa and vote in favour of the massive 82-billion-dollar spending bill aimed at helping Canadians weather the COVID-19 storm economically.

The emergency bill will include direct spending and deferred taxes to help Canadians cope with lost jobs and wages, while also preparing the country for mass illness.

Yesterday, Ontario’s and Quebec’s premiers ordered non-essential businesses to close their workplaces by midnight tonight.

Trudeau has also hinted that harsh measures could soon be used to keep people from gathering in groups.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau held a conference call with provincial and territorial leaders Monday evening.

A federal source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, says there was a lengthy discussion about whether the federal government should invoke the Emergencies Act to give itself extraordinary powers to deal with the health crisis.

While some premiers want the act invoked, others are concerned that it could impede their efforts to respond to unique circumstances in their provinces.

The federal government continues to consider the move a “last resort.”

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A new poll suggests one in five Canadians weren’t taking the deadly COVID-19 pandemic seriously as recently as last weekend.

Sixteen per cent of respondents to the Leger poll said the crisis was partly blown out of proportion and another four per cent believed it was blown way out of proportion.

While it appears the vast majority of Canadians are taking the crisis seriously, executive vice-president Christian Bourque says the 20 per cent who aren’t could jeopardize nationwide efforts to curb the rapid spread of the respiratory virus.

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U-S President Donald Trump says he thinks the U-S economy, which has been virtually shut down because of COVID-19 pandemic, could be reopened in weeks, not months.

At a news conference, Trump said keeping the nation largely shuttered is a bad idea, causing — in his opinion — far bigger problems that could come with severe consequences.

Earlier in the crisis, Trump had signalled that the U-S might not get back to normal until July or August.

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Asian stock markets are higher after the U-S Federal Reserve promised economic support as Congress delayed action on a two-trillion-dollar aid package.

The U-S Fed said it would buy as much Treasury debt and other assets as needed to keep financial markets functioning.

That helped to offset unease over the failure of an aid bill in Congress that Democrats said favours companies at the expense of workers and public health.

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Chinese authorities are lifting a lockdown across most of its virus-hit Hubei province.

People who are cleared will be able to leave the province after midnight Tuesday.

Restrictions on the hardest-hit city of Wuhan will remain until April 8th.

China barred people from leaving or entering Wuhan starting January 23rd and expanded it to most of the province in succeeding days.

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COVID-19 is continuing its spread across some of the most-vulnerable nations of the Middle East.

The International Monetary Fund is now warning that a lack of medical supplies in Iraq, Sudan and Yemen could lead to a surge in prices.

The I-M-F, which traditionally has urged governments to implement greater austerity measures, now urges Mideast governments to offer temporary tax relief and cash transfers.

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