COVID-19 Update: Positive test at Bowness High School | Nearly 15,000 confirmed cases since March

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Prepping for prayer: A COVID-fighting robot goes to church in Ontario

Canadian firm Sparta’s antimicrobial robot is put through its paces at Saint Clare of Assisi Roman Catholic Church in Woodbridge, Ont. Photo by Courtesy Sparta Group

Science has met Christianity in a Catholic church in Woodbridge, just outside of Toronto. This week, at Saint Clare of Assisi Roman-Catholic Church, a high-tech robot hosed a futuristic anti-microbial solution around the sanctuary, demonstrating the latest possibility for churches — and other institutions — working to find a way to gather during the pandemic.

Father John L. Borean said the robot, which looks like a cross between a drone and a bomb-disposal unit, wheeled through his church, spraying a solution that could potentially keep away bacteria and viruses for up to 30 days.

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As we enter The Great Unknown, the second wave of COVID-19, is Canada better prepared than we were before?

A mobile hospital set up in April in Montreal. Months later, doctors say they are more nimble and prepared in their responses to COVID outbreaks. Photo by Christinne Muschi/Reuters/File

One evening in mid-March, as a weird and eerie illness was making itself frighteningly real in northern Italy and New York City, Ontario hospitals were instructed to commence shutting down “non-emergent” procedures, in anticipation of a COVID-19 surge.

Dr. Jonathan Irish is a cancer surgeon. He had five cancer operations scheduled the next day at Toronto’s Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. Two of his patients had travelled by plane to get there. All five operations were cancelled.

By end of May, the directive was lifted. In a study published this week in Canada’s top medical journal, Irish and his co-authors estimate it will now take a staggering 84 weeks to clear that surgical backlog owing to COVID-19. Roughly three-and-a-half months to get through “time-sensitive” cases like cancers and coronary artery bypass grafts, and over a year-and-a-half to clear all surgeries, including joint replacements and cataract and hernia repairs — an estimated 148,364 surgeries in total.

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