Tag Archives: members

Toronto FC camp paused after ‘multiple’ team members test positive for COVID-19

Toronto FC’s pre-season has ground to a halt after a number of positive COVID-19 tests.

The MLS team said Monday club personnel are currently isolating and training has halted pending contact tracing and follow-up testing. The club did not identify who tested positive, saying only they were members of the “team delegation.”

The club’s north Toronto training centre has been closed. The club had been practising behind closed doors there and at BMO Field, whose playing surface has underground heating.

GM Ali Curtis said it started with one positive test and is now at “a small handful” of positives, The club is now testing everyone daily while working with local health authorities with the goal of getting “back to training in a safe way.”

Citing privacy concerns, Curtis declined to comment on the condition of those who tested positive.

“We feel good about the strength of the medical protocols. We’re trying to be smart about this and trying to use all our resources to ensure that everyone returns to health and returns to play in a really, really safe way,” he said.

“Every team in every different league has been dealing with this. We were really fortunate in that last year we didn’t have one staff or player test positive during the season. Last season was a great season for us in that respect. This year, we’ve got to respond in the right way to make sure that everyone is as safe as possible.”

Toronto finished out the 2020 campaign in East Hartford, Conn., due to pandemic-related border restrictions. The club plans to begin the season in Florida, with “home” games either in Orlando or Tampa to start.

Toronto opened camp Feb. 17, allowed to begin its pre-season early to prepare for the Canadian Championship final against Forge FC of the Canadian Premier League. While no date has been announced yet for the game, March 20 has been floated.

The winner of the Canadian Championship advances to the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League, to meet Mexico’s Club Leon in a round-of-16 tie that opens April 7.

The MLS regular season kicks of April 17.

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CBC | Soccer News

4 members of Manchester City women’s team test positive for COVID-19

Manchester City, home to Canadian international Janine Beckie, says four members of its women’s team have tested positive for COVID-19.

The FA Women’s Super League club did not identify the affected players but said they were self-isolating in accordance with Football Association and U.K. government protocol.

“Everyone at the club wishes our colleagues a speedy recovery ahead of their return to work, training and competition,” the club said in a statement.

City, which currently stands fourth in the table at 5-1-3, is scheduled to host the West Ham women behind closed doors on Saturday.

The Manchester City men have also been hit by COVID, with six players missing from Sunday’s 3-1 win at at Chelsea.

This past November, Beckie scored in an FA Cup final for Manchester City as the defending champions beat Everton 3-1 after extra time.

The 26-year-old forward, a dual citizen raised in Colorado by her Canadian parents, signed a two-year extension with Man City back in April.

WATCH | Janine Beckie goal seals victory for Man City:

Canadian Janine Beckie scored the insurance marker as Manchester City beat Everton 3-1 in the Women’s FA Cup final. 0:30

It was City’s third Women’s FA Cup triumph in four seasons — a winning streak that began with another American, Carli Lloyd, netting in the 2017 victory over Birmingham.

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CBC | Soccer News

Italians who lost family members to COVID-19 seek €100 million in damages

Around 500 relatives of people who died of COVID-19 in Italy said on Wednesday they were initiating legal action against regional and national authorities, seeking €100 million (more than $ 156 million Cdn) in damages.

The civil lawsuit, which the plaintiffs said they would present to a Rome court in the next few hours, is against Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Health Minister Roberto Speranza and the governor of the northerly Lombardy region, Attilio Fontana.

Italy, the first Western country hit by the coronavirus, has seen almost 70,000 deaths from COVID-19 since its outbreak there in February, the highest toll in Europe and the fifth-highest in the world. The hardest-hit region is Lombardy, where the first COVID-19 patient was detected on Feb. 20.

The lawsuit is being brought by members of a committee called Noi Denunceremo (We Will Go to Court), set up in April to represent the relatives of people who died in Bergamo, one of Lombardy’s worst-affected cities.

“This case is our Christmas gift to those who should have done what they were supposed to do, but didn’t,” the group’s president, Luca Fusco, said in a statement.

A Civil Protection member is seen in a hangar near Bergamo, Italy, in April where 18 coffins of victims of COVID-19 waited to be transported to Florence by the Italian Army to be cremated. (Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images)

Alleging failure to take quick action

The committee said when the outbreak erupted in Lombardy, local authorities and the central government failed to take rapid action that could have avoided the need for a national lockdown and the economic damage it has brought.

They also decried an alleged lack of preparedness, with neither Rome nor the Lombardy region having an updated plan in place to deal with a possible pandemic.

In June, Noi Denunceremo asked prosecutors in Bergamo to investigate possible criminal responsibility in the management of the pandemic.

Prime Minister Conte was questioned by the prosecutors during the summer as a witness but is not under criminal investigation.

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CBC | World News

3 members of Raptors organization contract coronavirus, team says

The Toronto Raptors are feeling the impact of COVID-19, and the season hasn’t even started yet.

Three members of the organization have tested positive for the coronavirus a week after the Raptors convened in Tampa, Fla., for training camp, and five days before they’re scheduled to tip off the pre-season.

Raptors general manager Bobby Webster wouldn’t disclose who received the positive results, whether or not they were players, or if they were suffering symptoms of the coronavirus.

But when asked if part if him wonders if it’s all worth it, whether playing this season amid a global pandemic is a good idea, Webster said he believes it is.

“Our season is here months after other professional sports have started … we’ve always said sports are an outlet, sports are a distraction, and I like to believe we’re providing entertainment, we’re providing things for the greater good of the public,” Webster said on a Zoom video call.

“We feel comfortable there’s not further [spread], but it’s not to say a week from now or two weeks from now or in the middle of the season when we’re on the road in Brooklyn that we’re not going to have this again. And so we’ll continue to confront those challenges. But I do think from a professional manner, basketball is our livelihood, it’s the livelihood of these players, coaches, and a number of staff, so we think following the protocols we can get through this.”

The Raptors’ positive results came during the NBA-mandated testing period prior to training camp. The league announced last week that 48 players — about nine per cent — had tested positive in pre-camp testing.

On Sunday, the Portland Trail Blazers shut down their practice facility due to three positive cases within their organization.

A day earlier, Raptors head coach Nick Nurse had talked about how potentially devastating COVID-19 could be to the team and the season.

Infected trio self-isolating

“My role is to just constantly be on [players] and be a reminder constantly of our actions and our behaviour, and how impactful it is not only themselves, their families, our team, the organization, there’s lots on the line if you’re not doing the best you can with the COVID-19 protocols,” Nurse said.

Nurse had told reporters Sunday that all 20 players in camp had participated in the team’s first group practice.

Asked whether or not Nurse did indeed have a full complement of healthy players at practice, Webster wouldn’t say, citing privacy issues.

The Raptors said the three individuals are self-isolating away from the rest of the team. Webster said the Raptors were permitted to practice Monday because there’s been no evidence of further spread.

WATCH | Nick Nurse describes ‘excitement’ at 1st day of practice:

Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse talks to the media after the team’s 1st official practice in Tampa. 1:17

The NBA was among the major global sports leagues to shutter on March 11, after Utah’s Rudy Gobert tested positive. Other global leagues and events follow suit like a row of dominoes.

The NBA successfully finished the season over the summer, but it was within a protective “bubble” at Walt Disney World, perhaps the safest spot in the U.S. amid the raging pandemic.

The Raptors had hoped to play this season at home at Scotiabank Arena, but didn’t get clearance due to Canada’s travel restrictions and rising cases here.

The Raptors chose Tampa and Amalie Arena, despite Florida being a COVID-19 hotspot. The Sunshine State had 8,436 new cases Monday, and last week surpassed the one-million total case mark.

Positive cases in the NBA come as little surprise. The NFL has had dozens of cases, along with NCAA football and basketball.

“It’s an enormous challenge, right? It’s a logistical challenge, it’s a health challenge, it’s a human challenge that we’re all going through,” Webster said.

Eating meals in hotel rooms

“It’s constantly on our mind, at the same time we’re trying to prepare for an NBA season, as I’m sure most of us are seeing around the sports landscape, this was bound to happen.”

WATCH | Fred VanVleet’s presser interrupted by Siakam, Powell:

During Fred VanVleet’s press conference with the media, he’s interrupted by his teammates Pascal Siakam and Norman Powell. 0:30

The NBA has produced a 150-page document outlining the numerous health and safety protocols to follow if teams are to get through this bizarre season.

“They’re extensive … but there’s the real world, so you have questions, is this allowed? Is this not allowed? How do I dine outdoors safely? So it’s tough. It’s the endless amount of questions we all have and sometimes they seem a bit counterintuitive, or sometimes they seem maybe contradictory,” Webster said. “So, it’s erring on the super-conservative side limiting your exposure.”

Webster said the players, who are temporarily living in a Tampa hotel, have been careful about potential exposure, mostly eating meals in their rooms and distancing while travelling. The only place they’re not physically distanced is during practice.

Fred VanVleet doesn’t believe any of the Raptors would be reckless about health protocols, but said it’s on the players to hold each other accountable.

The players accepted the strict protocols and daily testing, he said, as part of the new normal.

“The NBA is definitely trying to cover all its bases and make sure it’s a safe environment for us. I don’t have great expectations about that, I think it’s going to be tough to do but this is what it is and we’ve got to try to the best we can,” VanVleet said.

Health experts have questioned the return of sports, particularly since the longterm impacts of COVID-19 are still relatively unknown.

“If we just put this off by the months that we need to be able to get things back in our communities to where we need, get transmission back under control, to me, that is more worthwhile,” Jason Kindrachuk, a virologist with the University of Manitoba, told The Canadian Press.

Others believe the return to some semblance of normal life, including sports, is important for mental and physical health.

“In North America, team professional sports is so much a part of the day-to-day lives of many that it has to exist in some way,” said Dr. Brian Conway, head of the Vancouver Infectious Diseases Centre. “So I think if we were to turn around at this stage, given what’s been done, and shut it down, there would be a very big push back that would affect health.”

The Raptors are scheduled to play their first pre-season game Saturday at Charlotte and open the 2020-21 season Dec. 23 against the visiting New Orleans Pelicans.

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CBC | Sports News

Sports groups defrauded by their own members face uphill battle in rebuilding community trust

Whenever an organization is the victim of theft, the impact can be deep and long lasting. When money is stolen by an employee or volunteer, it can take years to rebuild trust with the community.

That’s certainly the case for youth sports organizations, which every year provide countless programs and opportunities for hundreds of thousands of Canadian families.

An investigation by CBC Sports reveals that in the past decade nearly $ 8 million has been stolen from dozens of sports leagues and associations across Canada, almost all of it by someone inside the organization, leaving it and the families who participate devastated.

“In every article that I read, the parents are shocked. And I look at that and I’m like, well, why are you shocked?” said Erik Carrozza, a Philadelphia-area accountant who has documented dozens of similar stories across the United States. “Think about it for a minute. You have a person with all of these financial resources available to them with no governance, no oversight, no accountability.”

Darren Harvieux says rebuilding trust in his small Newfoundland community was one of the key reasons he volunteered to take over as treasurer of the Corner Brook Minor Hockey Association after it was discovered last year his organization had been defrauded of about $ 80,000.

With a financial background and two young children who play in the league, he was concerned about how theft had tarnished the way minor hockey was now viewed in the community.

WATCH | Why community sports organizations are vulnerable to fraud:

CBC Sports reporter Jamie Strashin speaks with Jacqueline Doorey about his latest investigation into fraud in youth sports organizations across Canada. 4:23

“The stigma around the hockey association and the community is something that I didn’t like to see kids grow up in,” he said. “I still tell stories about back when I used to play hockey with all my buddies, and I wanted to make sure that the children in this association had that same chance. 

“So to be able to come back, build the trust and keep the hockey going was definitely top priority for me.”

Harvieux said the theft left the league in “an extremely difficult financial situation.” But through intensive extra fundraising, cost-cutting and countless hours of volunteer efforts, all the outstanding money has been replaced, he said. 

None of it has been easy. Beyond restoring the organization’s finances, efforts have been focused on rebuilding trust and convincing people that governance changes have been implemented.

“We were almost fighting an uphill battle, trying to gain back the trust of 400 children’s parents and guardians who bring them to the rink every day,” Harvieux said.

Harvieux says the new group of volunteers “basically started from ground zero” in rebuilding the league’s finances. They were transparent with parents and creditors, keeping everyone informed about what they were doing through monthly reports and open meetings.

Corner Brook, N.L.’s Darren Harvieux says the Corner Brook Minor Hockey Association has completely changed the way it handles its finances to avoid leaving responsibility in the hands of a single person. (CBC)

Harvieux said the entire way the league conducts its business has changed.

“There’s no one single person involved in whether it be the banking, the cash handling, paying employees, it’s always a team approach,” he said. 

“We want to make sure that there’s always people watching. We want to make sure that if somebody had a question, we could answer the question on the spot.”

Carrozza, who founded the Center for Fraud Prevention to help youth sports organizations implement prevention strategies to reduce the risk of theft, says transparency in an organization is critical for regaining trust.

OMHA short on details

But the Ontario Minor Hockey Association, which was defrauded of $ 2.4 million dollars in 2018, has communicated little to the thousands of families it represents about exactly how it lost so much money. 

The organization also has not publicly outlined what organizational changes it has implemented to protect against future thefts.

The OMHA briefly acknowledged the theft in a letter to members and during its annual general meetings but offered no details to members around accountability and took no questions.

The OMHA declined requests for an interview, telling CBC in a statement that despite a guilty plea already being in place, any comment “could affect the sentencing hearing.”

That lack of communication prompted Murray Taylor, former president of the Newmarket Minor Hockey Association, which falls under the OMHA’s umbrella, to write the organization’s leadership calling for executive director Ian Taylor to be fired or resign.

“No manager in any truly professional organization can adequately explain why he/she didn’t notice budget deviations in the hundreds of thousands of dollars per month,” Murray Taylor wrote. “That is a managerial level of incompetence that simply cannot stand.” 

No manager in any truly professional organization can adequately explain why he/she didn’t notice budget deviations in the hundreds of thousands of dollars per month.– Murray Taylor in a letter to the OMHA

He says he never received any response.

Murray Taylor said that while most youth sports organizations are run by volunteers, the OMHA is run by a paid executive, tasked with administering hockey for much of the province. 

“My issue is with that professional arm, because I think that professional piece of it needs to be held accountable for what is going on,” he told CBC Sports. “My concern is, what have they changed, what processes have been put in place to protect themselves from it happening again?”

‘Parents are hesitant to come forward’

Murray Taylor is one of many OMHA members who CBC spoke to about the organization’s handling of this case, but one of the few willing to discuss their concerns publicly.

“It comes back to the concern around how coming forward might impact my child if you start asking questions,” he said. “Parents are hesitant to come forward because they’re worried about how it might impact their child. I think that has driven hesitancy in a lot of people’s minds about coming forward.” 

In audited statements, the OMHA says all but $ 120,000 of the stolen money was offset by insurance, but Murray Taylor says that shouldn’t absolve the OMHA from reform and accountability.

“There’s got to be a faith that when I hand over the money I’m going to get what I’m expecting to get from it. This could have really impacted a lot of hockey programs negatively,” he said.

“We were fortunate in that it didn’t hurt. But again, that doesn’t negate the fact that this happened. And how is it being addressed? That would be my question.”

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CBC | Sports News

Canada’s past, present IOC members say calls for social change must be confronted

As social movements go, the Olympics have proven themselves to have plenty of staying power.

Much more than a sporting event, the modern Olympics were conceived of by, among others, a French educator, Pierre de Coubertin.

The International Olympic Committee was formed to govern them back in 1894 two years before they actually took to the field of play in Athens, Greece in 1896.

The Olympic Charter, which has evolved over time, is much more than rule book for sport. It is, in fact, a roadmap envisioning a way of life which espouses universality, inclusion, and a wide-ranging set of commonly held and seemingly unassailable values.

The Charter holds dear things like persistence, hard work, fair play, tolerance, and togetherness. It is unapologetic in professing the notion that sport is ultimately a good thing.

International Olympic Day came into being in 1948. The same year the London Olympics were held after two editions of the Games, both winter and summer, had been lost due to the Second Word War.

The purpose of International Olympic Day is to celebrate the birth of the Olympic Movement, to encourage mass participation in sport regardless of race, religion, gender, orientation, circumstance, or ability, and also to be mindful of living the “Olympic Values.”

Upholding Olympic Values

Recent events in the world have made all of this very difficult.

Corruption in leadership, rampant doping issues, athletes who feel disenfranchised, a worldwide pandemic which has stopped the current congregating power of the Tokyo Olympics in its tracks, plus a call for freedom of expression in light of anti-Black racism has forced the IOC to take a long, hard look in the mirror.

One of the most powerful social movements on the face of the earth is now forced to confront dramatic change or risk becoming out of step with the times or, even worse, irrelevant.

WATCH | Damian Warner discusses IOC’s stance on protest gestures:

Canadian decathlete Damian Warner had strong words for the IOC, calling their stance on athletes protesting ‘unfortunate’ and said they are on the ‘wrong side of history.’ 0:50

Canada’s past and present members of the IOC unanimously agree that the Olympic Movement must now face these issues head on, and when making changes, they have to get it right or else lose their constituency.

“It’s about defining what living the Olympic values means in the current context,” said Canadian Olympic Committee president, 4-time Olympian, and IOC member, Tricia Smith.

“It’s not a simple question. But I believe the Olympic values do provide a framework for addressing all of these issues in a way that is hopeful and inclusive and unique. Unique, because as we know, there is nothing like sport to bring the world together, even a world that can seem so fractured. We need that now more than ever.”

Athletes are at the centre of the change which is afoot and all of the Canadian IOC members we contacted, competed at the Olympics in one sport or another.

“Athletes are familiar with setting ambitious goals, working towards achieving them, in the process, learning from both success and failure,” said Richard Pound, a swimmer at the 1960 Olympics who was first elected to the IOC in 1978 and is currently its longest serving member.

Former Canadian Olympic swimmer Richard Pound, seen above in a file photo from 2016, is a prominent advocate for ethics in sport and currently the longest serving member of the International Olympic Committee. (Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images)

“On occasions, such as we now face, during which the usual paradigm of our society and interpersonal relationships come under unprecedented pressures, it is important to maintain a healthy perspective and to recognize the need to realign our conduct and goals. The Olympic Movement has an extraordinary opportunity to demonstrate that these qualities have an impact for not only sport but also across the entire gamut of society.”

Charmaine Crooks is a five-time Olympian and has served on the IOC Athlete’s Commission, was a full voting member of the IOC from 2000-2004 and is a founding member of the IOC Ethics Commission.

As a Black, track and field, athlete, she understands the importance of the IOC making its stance on racism defensible.

“Sport is a powerful platform in the fight against systemic racism,” Crooks stressed.

“Now more than ever, the voices of athletes here in Canada and around the world are coming together as a team to be a catalyst for accelerating sustainable change and promoting the values that unite us well beyond sport.”

Charmaine Crooks, a five-time Olympian in track and field, carries the Pan Am flame during the opening ceremony of the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto. (Julio Cortez/The Associated Press)

The athletes are increasingly finding their voices and are eager to use them to prompt an Olympic evolution.

“The biggest challenge is to stay humble and connected to the little guy and the athletes versus ‘playing God’ which many believe the IOC does,” said 4-time Olympic hockey champion and current IOC Athlete’s Commission member Hayley Wickenheiser.

“Humility, transparency, and allowing the athletes to truly have a voice are all keys to success. The athletes need to understand they have more power than they think. The collective voice is strong. I believe the right thing, the truth, will always win out in the end.”

“I think the biggest challenge the Olympic Movement faces right now is potentially also its biggest opportunity,” said cross country skiing gold medallist Beckie Scott, who served on the IOC from 2006-2014 as well as chairing the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Athlete’s Commission.

“Sport has historically consolidated a majority of its power at the top level, leaving athletes out of the equation and powerless to influence the decisions that affect them the most. It’s a business model that has worked very well for a very long time for some. But the foundation of the model needs to shift in order to grow and stay current. Athletes are at the heart of the Olympic Movement, its most important and precious stakeholder. What a fantastic challenge to acknowledge, embrace and – as a result – progress the movement.”

Canadian former cross-country skier Beckie Scott, World Anti-Doping Agency athlete committee chairperson, speaks at a news conference in Calgary in 2018. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP)

It is a critical time for the Olympics.

There are serious issues to deal with and it’s not overstating the case to say the future of something, which we have all become accustomed to, is on the line.

Still, on this International Olympic Day, those from within who advocate change universally acknowledge that the Games are worth fighting for.

“Everything I have in my life, I owe to the Olympic Games,” Wickenheiser concluded.

“There is nothing that unites the world like the Olympic Games. They are the most incredible display of humanity I’ve ever been a part of.”

Now the task for the Olympic Movement is to prove that it not only has staying power but that it is also open to change for the better.

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CBC | Sports News

Hockey Canada lifts ban on sanctioned activities, lets members decide on return

Hockey Canada has lifted its ban on sanctioned activities and is allowing the country’s 13 member organizations to individually determine when it’s safe to return to action.

The move is a first step toward resuming play after Hockey Canada cancelled all activities under its banner March 12 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hockey Canada said in a statement the best approach for a resumption plan was for each member to work with regional public health authorities to determine the appropriate steps to return in areas that fall under their jurisdiction.

The sport’s national body said it expects the timing for a return to the ice will differ among its members. Certain regions of the country are further along with plans to reopen and roll back restrictions related to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Hockey Canada’s 13 members are: BC Hockey, Hockey Alberta, Saskatchewan Hockey Association, Hockey Manitoba, Hockey Northwestern Ontario, Ontario Hockey Federation, Hockey Eastern Ontario, Hockey Quebec, Hockey New Brunswick, Hockey PEI, Hockey Nova Scotia, Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador, and Hockey North.

Melody Davidson leaves Hockey Canada

Decorated women’s hockey coach Melody Davidson has joined Own The Podium as a summer-sport adviser.

She coached the Canadian women’s hockey team to Olympic gold in both 2006 and 2010.

Davidson switched to a managerial role overseeing Canada to another gold medal in 2014 and a silver in 2018.

She then remained with Hockey Canada as women’s head scout while mentoring former player Gina Kingsbury to take over as director of national women’s teams.

Davidson coached Canada in four world championships and won gold twice.

Melody Davidson took the Canadian women to gold medals at the 2006 and 2010 Winter Olympics. (John Woods/Canadian Press)

The 57-year-old from Oyen, Alta., also served as the International Ice Hockey Federation’s lead coaching mentor to improve the international women’s game following the 2010 Winter Olympics.

She’s been involved in women’s hockey for a quarter-century starting with the 1995 Canada Games, when she stood behind Alberta’s bench.

Davidson was named to the Canadian Women and Sport’s most influential women’s list five straight years from 2007 to 2011.

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CBC | Sports News

3 White House coronavirus task force members in quarantine

Three members of the White House coronavirus task force placed themselves in quarantine after contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, another stark reminder that not even one of the U.S.’s most secure buildings is immune from the virus.

Anthony Fauci, a high-profile member of the coronavirus response team, is considered to be at relatively low risk based on the degree of his exposure, according to a representative for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

Fauci, the 79-year-old NIAID director, has tested negative for COVID-19 and he will continue to be tested regularly, the official said in an emailed statement.

Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will be “teleworking for the next two weeks” after it was determined he had a “low risk exposure” to a person at the White House, the CDC said in a statement Saturday evening. The statement said he felt fine and has no symptoms.

Just a few hours earlier, the Food and Drug Administration confirmed that FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn had come in contact with someone who tested positive and was in self-quarantine for the next two weeks. He tested negative for the virus.

Both men were scheduled to testify before a Senate committee on Tuesday, along with infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, also a task force member. Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander, the chair of the panel, said the White House will allow the two men to testify by videoconference, a one-time exception to the administration’s policies on hearing testimony.

Trump ‘not worried’

Vice-President Mike Pence’s press secretary tested positive for the coronavirus on Friday, making her the second person who works at the White House complex known to test positive for the virus this week. White House officials had confirmed Thursday that a member of the military serving as one of Trump’s valets had tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday.

President Donald Trump, who publicly identified the affected Pence aide as spokesperson Katie Miller, said he was “not worried” about the virus spreading in the White House. Nonetheless, officials said they were stepping up safety protocols for the complex.

U.S. President Donald Trump is pictured in the White House on Saturday. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

Miller had been in recent contact with Pence but not with the president and had tested negative a day earlier. She is married to Stephen Miller, a top Trump adviser. The White House had no immediate comment on whether Stephen Miller had been tested or if he was still working in the White House.

The CDC and FDA would not disclose the identity of the person who had tested positive and with whom the agency leaders had come in contact.

Top military leaders meet without masks

Redfield sought to use the exposure as a teachable moment. The CDC statement said if he must go to the White House to fulfil any responsibilities as part of the coronavirus task force, he will follow CDC practices for critical infrastructure workers. Those guidelines call for Redfield and anyone working on the task force to have their temperature taken and screened for symptoms each day, wear a face covering and distance themselves from others.

Trump has resisted wearing a mask, and in a meeting with the nation’s top military leaders Saturday evening, he did not wear a mask during the brief portion that reporters were allowed to view. The generals around Trump also did not wear a mask, but participants did sit a few feet away from each other.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attends a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump, senior military leaders and members of Trump’s national security team in the White House on Saturday. (Patrick Semansky/Associated Press)

FDA spokesperson Stephanie Caccomo said Hahn tested negative for the virus after he learned of the contact. He wrote a note to staff on Friday to alert them.

Six people who had been in contact with Miller were scheduled to fly with Pence on Friday to Des Moines, Iowa, on Air Force Two. They were removed from the flight just before it took off, according to a senior administration official.

None of those people was exhibiting symptoms, but were asked to deplane so they could be tested “out of an abundance of caution,” a senior administration official told reporters travelling with Pence. All six later tested negative, the White House said.

Pence’s staff tested less frequently

The official said staff in the West Wing are tested regularly but much of Pence’s staff — which works next door in the Executive Office Building — are tested less frequently. Katie Miller was not on the plane and had not been scheduled to be on the trip.

Pence, who is tested on a regular basis, was tested Friday. Miller tweeted she was “doing well” and looked forward to getting back to work.

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said the administration was stepping up mitigation efforts already recommended by public health experts and taking other unspecified precautions to ensure the safety of the president. He said the White House was “probably the safest place that you can come,” but that he was reviewing further steps to keep Trump and Pence safe.

The White House requires daily temperature checks of anyone who enters the White House complex and has encouraged social distancing among those working in the building. The administration has also directed regular deep cleaning of all work spaces. Anyone who comes in close proximity to the president and vice-president is tested daily for COVID-19.

Trump’s valet’s case marked the first known instance where a person who has come in close proximity to the president has tested positive since several people present at his private Florida club were diagnosed with COVID-19 in early March.

The White House was moving to shore up its protection protocols to protect the nation’s political leaders. Trump said some staffers who interact with him closely would now be tested daily. Pence told reporters Thursday that both he and Trump would now be tested daily as well.

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5 military members missing after helicopter crash now presumed dead

The Department of National Defence has officially given up hope of finding survivors from this week’s crash of a CH-148 Cyclone helicopter off the coast of Greece, and has switched its search efforts to recovering remains and aircraft wreckage.

The chopper went down Wednesday in the Ionian Sea while taking part in NATO exercises.

In a brief statement, the department said the five missing crew members are now considered missing and presumed dead.

The body of one naval officer — Sub-Lieutenant Abbigail Cowbrough, a Marine Systems Engineering Officer aboard HMCS Fredericton — was recovered almost immediately after the crash.

Five others — Capt. Brenden Ian MacDonald, Capt. Kevin Hagen, Capt. Maxime Miron-Morin, Sub-Lieutenant Matthew Pyke, and Master- Cpl. Matthew Cousins — remain unaccounted for after more than two days of searching.

Unidentified remains

The department says additional remains were discovered during the search but they “cannot be identified at this time.”

Rear Admiral Craig Baines, commander of Maritime Forces Atlantic, said Friday that the decision to declare the five “missing and presumed deceased” was not taken lightly.

“While searches on the sea are never easy, these units have completely saturated the area for the duration of the search over a known crash location. So we are certain that if there were survivors, we would have found them within the past 48 hours,” he said.

He said every effort will be made to identify the remains that were recovered, but that likely won’t happen until they are returned to Canada.

Baines said searchers recovered debris from the aircraft, including a side door and pieces of the fuselage.

A repatriation airlift to return all recovered human remains to Canada is expected to take place next week.

HMCS Fredericton, which was part of a standing NATO task group, is now headed to an unnamed port in Italy and will arrive tomorrow. Baines said the ship’s company is expected to hold a vigil to pay tribute to the fallen shipmates before departing the crash scene.

‘We grieve’

In his weekly letter to all members of the Armed Forces, the country’s top military commander said the accident and loss of life is painful for the families of victims, but also for the military and for Nova Scotia, the province they called home.

“What makes this all the more difficult to bear is our inability – thus far – to recover all of our fallen comrades,” Gen. Jonathan Vance wrote in the letter, posted online this afternoon. 

“The investigation will proceed and answers about the cause will hopefully be found. In the meantime, we grieve.”

A Royal Canadian Air Force flight safety team was slated to depart Canada today to investigate the accident. It will begin work immediately upon arrival, a department statement said.

Rear-Admiral Craig Baines, the commander of Canada’s East Coast fleet, said during a media availability today that the investigators will meet the frigate dockside in Italy. He said he was unable to provide further information about the investigation.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau praised the dead crew members and promised accountability.

“In challenging times, Canadians lean on one another. Together we will get through this tragedy, and never forget those who were lost,” Trudeau said in a statement.

“We will continue to keep Canadians updated as the investigation progresses.”

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, also in a statement, said the search for survivors was ended “with a heavy heart.”

The flight data recorders were recovered from the debris and are to be analyzed at the National Research Council in Ottawa.

In an interview with CBC News that took place before the search switched to recovery mode, Sajjan acknowledged the difficulty involved in reaching wreckage that may be as much as 3,000 metres below the surface of the Ionian Sea.

Few nations possess that kind of deep-diving capability and Sajjan said he’s been talking to NATO’s secretary general and allies about the technological options.

“I can assure you we will put in all of the resources necessary,” said Sajjan who expressed confidence in the investigation team. “Our folks on the ground will figure what happened.”

The debris also is believed to be spread over a wide area on the ocean floor. One expert said that spread suggests something about the forces involved in the crash.

“It suggests a high speed impact” with the ocean, said Michael Byers, a University of British Columbia defence expert who has testified before the Senate on search and rescue.

“That will obviously increase the challenges of the recovery operation, but until we have something that can actually go down there — even just to take pictures — we really won’t know what happened to the aircraft.”

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