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Coronavirus shutters cooling sites as heat wave grips Central Canada

Coronavirus outbreak: Trudeau announces deal with GM to produce 10 million masks
Speaking to reporters Tuesday outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a federal contract with General Motors (GM) to produce 10 million face masks and help employment in Oshawa, Ont.

A blanket of hot, humid air that has settled over much of south Central Canada has come at a time when anti-pandemic measures have closed many of the usual places where people might seek relief.

Heat waves can be dangerous for those with underlying health conditions but with malls, swimming pools and cooling centres closed to help curb the spread of COVID-19, various authorities are trying to come up with ways to mitigate the concern.

READ MORE: Canada reports 121 more coronavirus deaths, more than 1,000 new cases

The City of Toronto, for example, has opened six designated sites from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at otherwise idled cooling centres. It was not immediately clear how the centres would ensure physical distancing among users or how many spaces were available.

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“They may not all meet your immediate needs based on hours and access,” the city said.

READ MORE: Coronavirus testing open to anyone in Ottawa as hospitalized case numbers drop

The City of Ottawa noted many of the usual ways people cool off might not be available given the pandemic but offered tips such as drinking lots of water and avoiding strenuous outdoor activity.

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The majority of Canada’s 6,566 deaths have been at long-term care facilities, prompting the federal government to send in members of the Canadian Armed Forces to help, exposing members to the virus and to the conditions in the homes.

Coronavirus outbreak: Trudeau admits ‘extremely troubling observations’ made by CAF members about Ontario long-term care homes
Coronavirus outbreak: Trudeau admits ‘extremely troubling observations’ made by CAF members about Ontario long-term care homes

In Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he had read a grim report from the military on conditions in Ontario nursing homes and had passed it on to Premier Doug Ford, whom, he said, would share details with the public later on Tuesday.

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Trudeau said he had a wide range of emotions while reviewing the report, including anger, sadness, frustration and grief.

“It is deeply disturbing,” Trudeau said. “There are things in there that are extremely troubling.”

READ MORE: Military teams raise concerns about conditions at Ontario care homes

The military reported on Tuesday that 36 members working in long-term care homes in Ontario and Quebec had now become sick ⁠— a 30 per cent jump in less than a week. Of those, 22 infected members of the military were in Quebec and 14 in Ontario.

Some good news did emerge from Ontario, which reported its lowest number of new cases ⁠— 287 ⁠— in more than two weeks. That’s down sharply from the more than 400 cases a day reported over the previous five days. However, 21 more people died from the disease.

Coronavirus outbreak: Trudeau announces deal with GM to produce 10 million masks
Coronavirus outbreak: Trudeau announces deal with GM to produce 10 million masks

Trudeau also announced a federal contract with General Motors to produce 10 million face masks and help employment in Oshawa, Ont. The government had also been diligent in ensuring personal protective equipment meets standards, he said.

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⁠—With files from Canadian Press reporters across the country.