NHL Three Stars: Ducks blank Blues; Quick goes wild (Puck Daddy)

October 19 2014 11:05PM

No. 1 Star: Sami Vatanen, Anaheim Ducks   The Anaheim defenseman had his first multi-goal game in the NHL, propping up the Ducks’ struggling power play with two goals in their 3-0 win over the St. Louis Blues. Fredrik Andersen made 28 saves to move to 25-5-0. No. 2 Star: Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings Quick made 40 saves as the Kings defeated the Minnesota Wild, 2-1. Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson had the goals. No. 3 Star: Mason Raymond, Calgary Flames Raymond had a goal and two assists at the Flames closed out a successful road trip with a 4-1 win at the Winnipeg Jets. Honorable Mention: Henrik Lundqvist made 33 saves at the New York Rangers blanked the San Jose Sharks, 4-0. Rick Nash scored his seventh and Carl Hagelin scored his first. … Jonas Hiller had 34 saves for the Flames; Kris Russell was a plus-3. … Mark Scheifele scored his first for the Jets. Did You Know? Andersen joined Ross Brooks of the Boston Bruins in 1972-74 as the only goalies in NHL history to win 25 or more of their first 30 decisions. (AP) Dishonorable Mention: Mirco Mueller, Chris Tierney, Eriah Hayes and Brent Burns were a minus-2 for the Sharks.    

Around the League notebook for Sunday, Oct. 19

October 19 2014 09:20PM

SUNDAY’S RESULTS Home Team in Caps LOS ANGELES 2, Minnesota 1 NY RANGERS 4, San Jose 0 Calgary 4, WINNIPEG 1 ANAHEIM 3, St. Louis 0


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October 19 2014 08:37PM

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Raymond has 3 points to lead Flames past Jets 4-1 (The Associated Press)

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WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) -- Mason Raymond had a goal and two assists, and the Calgary Flames beat Winnipeg 4-1 on Sunday to hand the Jets their fourth straight loss.

Raymond with a goal and two assists as Calgary beats Winnipeg 4-1

October 19 2014 07:55PM

WINNIPEG - Mason Raymond had a goal and two assists as the Calgary Flames handed the Winnipeg Jets their fourth straight loss with a 4-1 victory on Sunday.

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A glimpse behind the public-health scenes should Ebola virus arrive in Canada

October 19 2014 11:47AM

OTTAWA— A man who recently travelled to Sierra Leone walked into a southern Ontario hospital last week, feeling unwell. Four minutes later, he was in quarantine and being tested for the Ebola virus. Those tests proved negative.

Suppose they’d been positive. What would happen next?

It would start with a technician at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, where the testing takes place, who would notify Dr. Gary Kobinger, the lab’s chief of special pathogens, of the results.

Kobinger would double-check the sample. Once satisfied it was indeed positive, he would advise Steven Guercio, acting head of the laboratory.

Guercio would then notify four key people: Canada’s new chief public health officer, Dr. Gregory Taylor; Krista Duthwaite, associate deputy minister of the Public Health Agency of Canada; Judith Bosse, assistant deputy minister of the agency’s infectious disease prevention and control branch; and Theresa Tam, head of the agency’s health security infrastructure branch.

Finally, Taylor and Outhwaite would notify federal Health Minister Rona Ambrose that Canada had its first confirmed case of Ebola.

The phone in Dr. David Mowat’s office, meanwhile, would be ringing off the hook. Mowat, Ontario’s interim chief medical officer of health, would get calls from everywhere: the local medical officer of health, the laboratory, Public Health Ontario, the hospital and the infectious disease doctor.

“If it’s two o’clock in the morning, they will test it at two o’clock in the morning,” Mowat said in an interview. “They’ll have the results at three o’clock in the morning. They will call right then. For Ebola, that’s exactly how it works.

“We’ve had results in the middle of the night before now. Mercifully, they’ve been negative results, but we get them.”

Those phone calls would set off a chain of events shaped by Canada’s past experiences with infectious-disease outbreaks: SARS in 2003 and the swine-flu pandemic of 2009.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has two teams of public health experts and epidemiologists on standby in case a patient tests positive for Ebola — one in Winnipeg and another in Ottawa.

Since Ottawa is closer to Belleville, that team would race to the hospital. They’d bring laboratory expertise to quickly confirm the diagnosis, and any needed supplies, such as masks, gloves and face shields.

They’d be responsible for the hands-on treatment of the patient, who would remain in quarantine.

Back in Ottawa, the agency would alert the World Health Organization. And Ambrose and Taylor would hold a news conference to notify Canadians and allay public fears. The hospital might also hold a news conference of its own.

After that, the agency would send out daily updates, much like it did in 2009.

The plan reflects preparations that have been underway for some time.

Last week, Ontario designated 10 hospitals across the province as referral centres to treat potential cases of Ebola because they already have sophisticated infection-control systems in place.

And starting this week, Ebola specimens will be tested at Public Health Ontario’s provincial labs, allowing for faster test results.

Behind the scenes, Ambrose has been busy. She held a conference call last week with her provincial and territorial counterparts to ensure they are fully prepared to deal with the disease should it make an appearance in Canada.

The minister has also met with representatives of the national nurses’ union, which has complained of inadequate personal protective gear, training and preparedness for nurses, who would be on the front lines.

Ambrose said she reassured the nurses that they have her full support and that the government is committed to ensuring they have everything they need to feel safe.

Meanwhile, in addition to $35 million already pledged to the World Health Organization, the UN and humanitarian aid groups working in the affected region, Ambrose announced another $30 million Friday for the containment effort. Canada has also donated up to $2.5 million worth of personal protective equipment.

PHAC has also sent two mobile labs to Sierra Leone. One of the lab teams is working with Medecins Sans Frontieres to provide rapid diagnosis; the other is helping to improve infection prevention and control procedures.

Those teams check in every day with officials in Canada to update them on the situation on the ground.

Canada has also offered to donate a Canadian-developed experimental vaccine, currently undergoing clinical trials, to the WHO.

Follow @steve_rennie on Twitter

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Flames-Jets Preview (The Associated Press)

October 18 2014 05:08PM

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Predators spoil Jets home opener

October 17 2014 09:51PM

Predators spoil Jets home opener

Two officers who saw Tina Fontaine before she went missing could face charges

October 17 2014 04:26PM

WINNIPEG—Two police officers who saw a 15-year-old girl shortly before she disappeared and was killed may face charges following an internal investigation.

Winnipeg police Chief Devon Clunis said Friday he has received a report into the officers’ actions on the day before Tina Fontaine vanished and it will be forwarded to a Crown attorney.

“That file was handed to me just this week and probably within a short period of time, the file itself will be forwarded to the Crown for an opinion,” Clunis said.

He refused to elaborate on what kind of charges or other penalties the Crown might consider.

“I think it’s better to have an objective view rather than myself trying to affect the outcome in any way, shape or form.”

“In a case like this, if we did not move that forward to have an outside look at it ... we’d be scrutinized for not doing that, so we’re taking every step to ensure there is open transparency related to any decision.”

Police have already confirmed that two officers, who have not been identified, came across Fontaine when they pulled over a vehicle on Aug. 8.

Fontaine was in the care of Child and Family Services and had run away. She had been reported missing more than a week earlier, but was not taken into custody at the traffic stop — an apparent contravention of police protocol for handling missing minors.

It’s not clear whether the officers knew Fontaine’s identity at the time or whether they were made aware she had been reported missing via the police database.

The officers were among the last people to see Fontaine alive. Her body was found in a bag in the Red River nine days later. No arrests have been made.

The case has renewed calls for a national inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women.

The head of the Winnipeg police officers union, Moe Sabourin, was not available for comment Friday. He previously urged people to await the results of the internal probe and not jump to conclusions about what happened at the traffic stop.

Fontaine had spent much of her life with her great-aunt, Thelma Favel, on the Sagkeeng First Nation, 75 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg. The girl had a history of running away and went to Winnipeg about a month before her death to visit her biological mother.

Relatives say Tina was a good student who drifted into trouble after her father, Eugene, was beaten to death in October 2011. At a court hearing earlier this week for two men who have pleaded guilty to manslaughter in Eugene Fontaine’s death, relatives recalled Tina leaving Sagkeeng for Winnipeg and ending up on the streets.

Favel has said social workers told her that on the night of Aug. 8 — a few hours after police came across Fontaine — the girl was found passed out in an alley downtown and paramedics took her to a nearby hospital.

Social workers picked her up from the hospital, but she ran away again — for the final time, Favel said.

Child and Family Services has launched an internal investigation into the case as well. The Manitoba government and the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority have not confirmed or denied Favel’s statements, citing privacy laws and the police investigation.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version said the investigation results had already been forwarded to the Crown.

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As Ebola fears grow, crisis in West Africa ‘deteriorating’

October 16 2014 03:13PM

Is Ebola a threat to the West? In Spain, the odds of the virus spreading are “virtually nil,” a health official reassured citizens in August. “We know how to stop it here,” confident American authorities have repeated for months.

Today, the risk of a widespread Ebola outbreak in a developed country remains extremely low. But with recent hospital transmissions in Spain and the United States, the virus has more than proven its ability to find cracks in even the wealthiest health-care systems.

Ebola infections in three Western nurses (two in the U.S., one in Spain) have cast serious doubt on just how prepared developed nations are for the deadly virus, which has now killed roughly 4,500 people in West Africa.

Spanish and American public health officials are still confident they can stop Ebola from spreading on home soil but the political fallout will not be so easily contained: fear is spreading, critics are calling upon officials to resign, and frightened health-care workers from Canada to Spain are demanding better training and protection.

It goes to show that if the world’s wealthiest nations struggle to safely treat Ebola patients, then the arrival of the virus in countries like India or Thailand could prove disastrous — and in West Africa, where many clinics lack even basic gear and 236 health workers have died, the battle is truly desperate.

But if the world is to be safe from Ebola, it is in West Africa where the fight must be won. As the epidemic continues to worsen, here is what made headlines this week:

In the face of mounting criticisms, U.S. health officials redraw their Ebola battle plans

Four days after Thomas Duncan died in a Dallas hospital, Texas health authorities announced that a nurse who treated the Liberian had tested positive for the virus, marking the first case of Ebola transmission on American soil. Then, on Wednesday, a second nurse was diagnosed — shortly after she took a domestic flight from Cleveland to Dallas, which apparently had been approved by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

These missteps further compounded an already bungled response to the United States’ first Ebola case. On Thursday, these failures were the subject of a sharply critical Congressional hearing, where CDC director Thomas Frieden was grilled and Texas hospital officials apologized for their mistakes, which included misdiagnosing Duncan when he first sought treatment.

Both of the sickened nurses are now being treated at hospitals with special biocontainment facilities. As for the CDC, it is tightening its guidelines for how Ebola patients should be treated; the public health agency has also created a special response team that will deploy “within hours” of a newly confirmed Ebola case. The Public Health Agency of Canada also has an Ebola response team at the ready.

Frieden, who is facing calls for his resignation, said he wished the CDC had deployed an Ebola response team when Duncan was diagnosed. “We did send some expertise in infection control,” he told reporters on Tuesday. “But I think we could, in retrospect, with 20/20 hindsight, have sent a more robust hospital infection control team and been more hands-on.”

Crisis in West Africa still “deteriorating,” according to WHO

As American health officials grapple with their two Ebola cases, the situation in West Africa continues to worsen. The UN says only a quarter of the money needed to fight Ebola has been raised so far, and the World Health Organization warned on Tuesday there could be between 5,000 and 10,000 cases per week by early December.

In Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone the outbreak is still expanding into new areas — including along borders — and “escalating” in capital cities, according to Dr. Bruce Aylward, an assistant director-general with the WHO. “Any sense that the great effort that has been kicked off over the last couple of months is already starting to see an impact, that would be really, really premature,” he said.

Aylward also explained the WHO’s new “70-70-60” strategy, which is to ensure that 70 per cent of patients are isolated, and 70 per cent of Ebola corpses are safely buried, within 60 days. But even he admitted this will be a difficult target to meet.

There are glimmers of hope, however. Aylward pointed out that some districts in Sierra Leone and Liberia are now experiencing notable declines in cases. Senegal and Nigeria — two countries that have had Ebola introduced by cross-border travellers — also appear to have beaten back their outbreaks and are on track to be declared Ebola-free by Friday and Monday, respectively.

On Thursday, U.S. President Barack Obama said he is authorizing the Pentagon to call up reserve and National Guard troops if they are needed to assist in the U.S. response to the outbreak in West Africa, The Associated Press reports. The U.S. has already committed to sending up to 4,000 military personnel to West Africa to provide logistics and help build treatment units.

Obama also spoke with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Thursday to discuss a coordinated international approach to the crisis, with Harper welcoming the president’s effort to rally more international support.

Canadian-made vaccines and drugs on the move

On Monday, Health Minister Rona Ambrose announced that human clinical trials have begun in the United States for an experimental Ebola vaccine developed by the federal government’s National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg. According to The Canadian Press, the Public Health Agency of Canada also recently donated doses of an experimental Ebola drug called ZMab to Norway and Spain, where infected health workers are being treated. ZMab, a monoclonal antibody cocktail produced for research in animals, is a precursor drug to ZMapp, which was first given to American missionaries who caught Ebola in Liberia. ZMapp supplies have now been exhausted.