Distribution of COVID 19 rapid test kits cut short in New Brunswick

Faced with long lineups and heavy demand, health officials in New Brunswick were forced to cut short the distribution of free COVID-19 rapid-test kits at three locations Saturday.

On Thursday, the province announced the kits would be handed out in Moncton, Perth Andover and Grand Falls- areas that have been subjected to strict health-protection measures since Oct. 5 because of a surge in infections and hospitalizations.

Read more:
Rapid tests roll out in New Brunswick’s circuit breaker zones

The distribution, however, was suspended by 11:30 a.m. in Moncton and by 1 p.m. in Perth Andover and Grand Falls.

At 9 a.m., the RCMP were reporting traffic jams near the Moncton location, a parking lot at the Magic Mountain amusement park.

Local residents turned to social media to vent their anger, with some saying more kits should have been made available at more locations.

The province pledged Friday to offer wider distribution of rapid-test kits on Monday at 20 locations across the province.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 16, 2021.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

Sask. drivers reminded to 'be cautious' of active wildlife through fall season

With fall settling in, many people are heading out of the city for a getaway, prompting a warning about wildlife collisions.

SGI along with the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation (SWF) is reminding drivers to be extra alert on highways and to give wildlife a break. Animals are more active in the fall during their mating season.

Collisions with deer are the most common on roadways in the province, while crashes involving moose and other smaller animals occur less frequently.

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A spokesperson with the SWF said animals aren’t paying attention when it’s time to cross a busy highway or intersection.

“Extra precaution should always be taken around high-risk areas that are identified by wildlife crossing signs,” said Darrell Crabbe SWF executive director. “We can greatly reduce potential collisions, injuries, and deaths through additional caution and awareness during this time of the year.”

SGI said over the last five years there has been an average of 367 motorist injuries and one death from collisions with animals.

“Reducing your speed provides more reaction time and it reduces the chance any collision will happen and the severity of the collision,” SGI media relations manager Tyler McMurchy told Global News.

“If you do find you are in a situation where a collision is unavoidable, let up on your break just before you collide which raises the front end of your vehicle, which can prevent the animal from coming through the windshield.”

“Always scan both sides of the road for the eyes of animals.”

According to SGI, wildlife collisions result in $83.1-million in insurance claims, with deer accounting for $80.3 million of that sum in Saskatchewan alone.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

'Stay the course': Children's health group says Ontario measures working to keep schools open

WATCH ABOVE: Ontario’s chief medical officer of health says he’ll be presenting recommendations to the province next week, which will lay out the path to further loosen restrictions.

A group of children’s health organizations says Ontario’s measures aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19 are working to keep schools open and urges the government to take a “cautious approach” in further reopening.

The Children’s Health Coalition said in a statement Friday that since schools reopened in September, provincial COVID-19 case rates have been trending within the best-case scenario under provincial modelling.

The statement said analysis of Public Health Ontario data suggests that measures aimed at limiting virus spread, including vaccinations, masking, and distancing “have been successful,” resulting in less than 0.19 per cent of the province’s school-aged population testing positive between Sept. 5 and Oct. 2.

Read more:
Ontario to announce plan next week for exiting Step 3, lifting more capacity limits

That amounts to 3,742 cases out of around two million school-aged individuals. The group said there have been an average of two to three cases per school outbreak.

The group also noted that between Sept. 19 and Oct. 2, more than 70 per cent of cases among youth aged 6 to 17 have been traced to sources other than school outbreaks.

“While few children become seriously ill with COVID-19, one death is a tragedy,” the statement said.

“Protecting children in all settings – including schools – is critical. Minimizing community spread will help protect children in all settings…

“Children and youth must be a priority in the pandemic recovery – for the sake of their future and the sake of our province’s future.

“We must stay the course in our schools, while always looking ahead and acting swiftly to prioritize the needs of children and youth.”

The group said the province must protect “the eco-system” of those aged 5 to 11 as that age group awaits eligibility for a COVID-19 vaccine.

The statement comes as the Ontario government is expected to announce plans to exit Step 3 of its COVID-19 reopening plan late next week.

A source, not authorized to speak publicly, said the first phase of the plan will determine when capacity limits can be lifted for remaining venues, such as restaurants, that are already under a proof-of-vaccination policy.

Ontario chief medical officer of health Dr. Kieran Moore was asked Thursday about possibly lifting further restrictions.

“We are going to take a slow and steady approach to the removal of any public health measures over time, based on the data at hand,” he said in part.

He said health officials, in partnership with the government, are providing advice on a schedule to further lift public health measures. He said that schedule will be provided to the government next week.

— With files from Gabby Rodrigues and Matthew Bingley

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

RCMP seek tips after Chilliwack hit-and-run leaves woman in critical condition

Chilliwack RCMP is appealing for witnesses and video after a woman was struck and sent to hospital on Wednesday.

Police say they were called to Keith Wilson Road near Chadsey Road just before 11 p.m. on Oct. 13, where they found the 56-year-old victim unconscious and bleeding in a ditch. They say she may have been lying injured in the ditch for as long as three hours.

Read more:
Overnight crash claims life of Surrey pedestrian

She was rushed to hospital, where she remains in critical but stable condition, police said.

Mounties said evidence at the scene was consistent with a vehicle collision, which they believe happened between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m.

Investigators are pleading with the driver to come forward, and are asking anyone with a friend or family member whose vehicle has unexplained front-end damage to contact police.

Anyone with information or video shot around the time and location of the collision is also urged to contact Chilliwack RCMP at 604-792-4611.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

People from across the globe tuned in to virtual SARscene event in Saskatoon

The annual SARscene event was held in Saskatoon at Prairieland Park.

The national conference brings search and rescue disciplines through air, ground and marine organizations together. It has been featured each year in cities throughout Canada – this was Saskatoon’s first time hosting.

Volunteers with the Search and Rescue Saskatchewan Association have been providing service to the province for years.

Read more:
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The virtual event started on Sept. 25 and wrapped up on Oct. 3, with more than 1,100 participants attending from all over the world.

It featured a number of exhibits, educational tools, networking and multiple presenters.

Search and Rescue Saskatchewan Association of Volunteers (SARSAV) president Scott Wright said the event is an opportunity to interact globally with one common goal — search and rescue betterment.

“What we are looking for is people to connect to best practices, said Wright. “Learn, themselves on how search and rescue get done better. This event is all about practitioners around the world learning to do better things.”

Read more:
2021 offers record number of calls for Central Okanagan Search and Rescue

This year marked the 25th anniversary of the event.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Bill Clinton is 'doing fine' and will be out of hospital soon, Biden says

WATCH ABOVE: Ex-president Bill Clinton recovering from infection in hospital, doctors say.

Hillary Clinton returned Saturday morning to the Southern California hospital where Bill Clinton is recovering after being treated for an infection.

The former president is doing fine and will be released soon from the University of California Irvine Medical Center, President Joe Biden said Friday night.

Biden said during remarks at the University of Connecticut that he had spoken to Clinton and the former president “sends his best.”

Read more:
Former U.S. president Bill Clinton hospitalized in California with infection

“He’s doing fine; he really is,” Biden said.

“He’s not in any serious condition,” Biden said. “He is getting out shortly, as I understand it. Whether that’s tomorrow or the next day, I don’t know.”

Hillary Clinton has been with her husband at the hospital southeast of Los Angeles. She returned around 8 a.m. Saturday in an SUV accompanied by secret service agents.

Clinton, 75, was admitted on Tuesday with an infection unrelated to COVID-19, his spokesman said.

An aide to the former president said Clinton had a urological infection that spread to his bloodstream, but he is on the mend and never went into septic shock, a potentially life-threatening condition.

Clinton spokesman Angel Urena had said Friday that Clinton would remain hospitalized overnight to receive further intravenous antibiotics.

“All health indicators are trending in the right direction, including his white blood count, which has decreased significantly,” Urena said in a statement.

“President Clinton continues to be in excellent spirits, and is deeply grateful for the outstanding care he is receiving and the well wishes that people have sent from across America and around the world,” the statement said.

The aide, who spoke to reporters at the hospital on the condition his name wasn’t used, said Clinton was in an intensive care section of the hospital but wasn’t receiving ICU care.

Clinton was reading books and watching TV coverage about his hospitalization, the aide said.

Read more:
Bill and Hillary Clinton create a buzz while vacationing in Quebec’s Eastern Townships again

In the years since Clinton left the White House in 2001, the former president has faced health scares. In 2004, he underwent quadruple bypass surgery after experiencing prolonged chest pains and shortness of breath. He returned to the hospital for surgery for a partially collapsed lung in 2005, and in 2010 he had a pair of stents implanted in a coronary artery.

He responded by embracing a largely vegan diet that saw him lose weight and report improved health.

Clinton repeatedly returned to the stump, campaigning for Democratic candidates, most notably Hillary Clinton during her failed 2008 bid for the presidential nomination. And in 2016, as Hillary Clinton sought the White House as the Democratic nominee, her husband _ by then a grandfather and nearing 70 _ returned to the campaign trail.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

Nature groups threaten to take Ottawa to court over Quebec frog protection

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Two environmental groups say they’re ready to take the federal government to court if it fails to protect a population of tiny brown frogs they say are threatened by a road expansion project south of Montreal.

The two Quebec-based groups are calling on Ottawa to issue an emergency order to protect a western chorus frog population they say is threatened by the City of Longueuil’s plan to expand a major boulevard through one of the amphibian’s few remaining habitats in the province.

Geneviève Paul, executive director of the Centre québécois du droit de l’environnement, said federal Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson has an obligation to recommend an order is issued “to intervene in this situation to protect the critical habitat of the frog.” Paul said the groups are prepared to take the matter to Federal Court if Wilkinson doesn’t recommend such an order by Wednesday.

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In an emailed statement late Friday, a spokeswoman for Wilkinson’s office did not confirm whether the recommendation would be made.

“The Minister’s decision will be informed by the best available information, including scientific evidence, that is gathered and provided by Environment and Climate Change Canada,” wrote Joanna Sivasankaran, who added that the office recognized the need for “timely decisions.”

The western chorus frog breeds in small, often temporary wetlands that are increasingly threatened by agriculture and urban sprawl. Adults grow to a maximum length of less than four centimetres. While the species’ numbers are secure globally, the population in Canada’s Great Lakes/St. Lawrence-Canadian Shield region has been listed as threatened since 2010, and current estimates suggest up to 90 per cent of its habitat has been lost in recent decades.

The federal government issued an emergency order in 2016 to protect a western chorus frog population threatened by a housing development in La Prairie, Que., another Montreal suburb not far from Longueuil. The developer sued and the case went to the Supreme Court of Canada, which eventually declined to hear the landowner’s appeal.

Paul said the groups have no choice but to appeal to Ottawa because the Quebec government has failed in its duty to protect the frog, due she said both to a lack of will and a regulatory framework that limits interventions on private land.

Alain Branchaud, the head of the conservation group SNAP Quebec, called the Coalition Avenir Québec government an “authorization regime” that rarely refuses to approve a project. Instead, he said, it will ask for “mitigation measures” that are ultimately inadequate.

The City of Longueuil says on its website that the 300-metre road expansion has been requested by citizens for years and has received the go-ahead from provincial authorities. It says it is taking biodiversity, including the frogs, into account.

It notes the project includes a large concrete tunnel under the new road aimed at allowing the frogs to pass safely between the two parts of their bisected habitat.

Branchaud says the wildlife passage is insufficient because it doesn’t stop the destruction of the ponds the frogs need to breed. He said the construction itself will damage water levels and vegetation, and that the city is likely to eventually build housing along the side of the new boulevard.

“The essence of its habitat will be completely destroyed, so we’ll pass a tunnel from one side where there are no more frogs to the other side of the boulevard where there won’t be any more frogs,” he said.

Branchaud said he’s hopeful the federal government will step forward on its own, but if not, the groups will go to court to protect the amphibians.

Despite the previous high-profile legal battle over the frogs, he says it’s wrong to think they are having widespread impact on construction south of Montreal.

He also says that the idea of finding a balance between frogs and developers is ludicrous when the frogs have already lost 90 per cent of their habitat and continue to lose about seven per cent of what remains each year.

“Nature has already made enormous compromises,” he said. “Maybe it’s our turn to make some.”

© 2021 The Canadian Press

Flood watch for parts of Lower Mainland as heavy rain continues

Parts of the Lower Mainland were under a flood watch on Saturday as heavy rain continued to pound the region.

An Environment Canada rainfall warning remained in place for Metro Vancouver, Howe Sound, Whistler, the Sunshine Coast and eastern and western Vancouver Island.

Read more:
Caution urged on roads, near waterways as ‘atmospheric river’ drenches B.C.’s South Coast

By Saturday, Vancouver harbour had already seen 78 millimetres of rain, while West Vancouver measured 95.8 millimetres and Tofino recorded 95 millimetres.

Port Mellon in Howe Sound recorded a whopping 239.8 millimetres of rain.

An additional 40 to 60 millimetres of rain is forecast to fall in most areas, with 70 to 90 mm possible on the North Shore and in Howe Sound.

And late Friday, the BC River Forecast Centre upgraded high streamflow advisories for the North Shore Mountains, Metro Vancouver, Howe Sound and the Sunshine Coast to flood advisories.

“Recent snow accumulation at elevation has occurred over the past few weeks, with 5‐40 mm of (snowmelt) equivalent currently observed at automated snow weather stations throughout the region,” the centre warned.

“Most of the snow on the ground is expected to melt during this event and will contribute additional runoff to rivers.”

People are being reminded to steer well clear of potentially unstable banks around the region’s creeks and rivers.

Read more:
‘Follow the forecast week by week’: B.C.’s weather outlook for fall and winter

Peak flows on smaller waterways were expected Saturday, and in larger waterways, including the Squamish River, on Sunday.

Environment Canada forecasts the heavy rain to shift into showers over Metro Vancouver on Saturday afternoon, before picking back up in the evening and tapering off again Sunday.

Drivers are reminded to slow down and turn their lights on, while residents are reminded to check their properties for any potential drainage problems.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

COVID-19: London and Middlesex adds 15 cases, 15 recoveries Saturday

Jump to: HospitalizationsOutbreaksSchoolsVaccinations and testingOntarioElgin and OxfordHuron and PerthSarnia and Lambton


The Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) reported 15 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday.

In total, there have been 14,281 cases, with 13,907 recoveries (an increase of 15), 131 active cases and 243 deaths.

The number of total cases involving a variant of concern sits at 4,272. The breakdown of known variant cases is as follows:

  • 3,384 cases of the Alpha variant
  • 758 cases of the Delta variant
  • 124 cases of the Gamma variant
  • two cases of the Beta variant
  • one case of the Kappa variant
  • one case of the Zeta variant

There are also two cases listed using the old code numbers, one described as B.1.617 and another listed as B.1.617.3.

Further information can be found on the health unit’s summary of COVID-19 cases in Middlesex-London.

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Hospitalizations

London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) does not update COVID-19 data over the weekend.

As of Friday, LHSC was caring for nine inpatients with COVID-19, with five or fewer in adult critical care or the intensive care unit.

There were zero COVID-19 inpatients in Children’s Hospital. As a result, there are zero cases in pediatric critical care.

No staff have currently tested positive for COVID-19.

St. Joseph’s Health Care London (SJHCL) reported one non-outbreak case involving a health-care worker.

Outbreaks

The MLHU is reporting an outbreak at Dearness Home in 5E, declared Oct. 6, which Mackie described on Oct. 7 as “precautionary” with only two confirmed cases at that time.

There are also outbreaks reported at the following schools:

  • Ryerson Public School, on Oct. 10
  • London Christian High, declared Oct. 1
  • St. Kateri Catholic School, declared Oct. 7
  • Providence Reformed Collegiate, declared Oct. 14

Mackie explained Tuesday that the outbreak at Ryerson (which is in the process of being renamed) is the result of a supply teacher covering a prep teacher role who was in 14 classes at the school while they were potentially contagious.

He said the supply teacher was double vaccinated and so the likelihood of spread is lower but, as of Tuesday, there was a single case “where we don’t think that there is a better explanation anywhere else in the community, except exposure in one of these classes.”

Schools

The following schools have cases associated with them, according to the MLHU:

  • C. C. Carrothers Public School (one case)
  • Catholic Central High School (two cases)
  • London Christian High (four cases)
  • Mountfield Public School (one case)
  • Our Lady of the Pillar Academy (one case)
  • Providence Reformed Collegiate (three cases)
  • Saunders Secondary School (one case)
  • St. Francis Catholic School (one case)
  • St. Kateri Catholic School (one case)
  • Wilfrid Jury Public School (two cases)

There are no active COVID-19 cases associated with child-care or early years centres.

The health unit said at least 124 cases have been reported since the start of the school year involving elementary and secondary schools, and child-care and early years centres.

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Vaccinations and testing

The latest vaccination update says as of Oct. 9, 83.2 per cent of residents aged 12 and older were fully vaccinated and 87.9 per cent have had at least one dose.

Since Sept. 3, unvaccinated individuals have accounted for 64.8 per cent of all cases (or 465 of 718 cases) and 64.5 per cent of all hospitalizations.

Meanwhile, 25.1 per cent of all cases (or 180 of 718 cases) involved those who were fully vaccinated while 29 per cent of all hospitalizations (nine of 31) involved individuals who were fully vaccinated.

The rest of the cases involved individuals who were partially vaccinated or not yet protected by vaccination.

Of the eight COVID-19-related deaths reported in the last six weeks, three involved people who were unvaccinated, two involved individuals who were fully vaccinated, two involved people who were partially vaccinated and one involved someone who was not yet protected by vaccination.

On the health unit’s website, residents can find information on pop-up clinics, mass vaccination clinics and pharmacies; guidance for anyone vaccinated outside of the province or country; transportation support for those in need; and more.

Anyone looking to be tested for COVID-19 can find information about the locations of testing sites on the health unit’s website.

The latest COVID-19 test positivity rate in the region was 1.8 per cent for the week of Sept. 26, unchanged from the week of Sept. 19.

Ontario

Ontario reported 486 COVID-19 cases on Saturday, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 594,419.

It marks the sixth day in a row the province reported fewer than 500 cases.

Five additional deaths were also announced, bringing the provincial death toll to 9,814.

A total of 580,667 cases are considered resolved, which is up by 517.

More than 32,600 additional tests were completed. Ontario has now administered a total of 18,563,680 tests and 14,277 remain under investigation.

Read more:
Ontario reports less than 500 COVID-19 cases as 7-day average continues to fall

The province indicated that the positivity rate for the last day was 1.7 per cent, which was up from Friday’s report, when it was 1.4 per cent, and down slightly from last Saturday’s report, when it was 1.8 per cent.

As of 8 p.m. Friday, 22,208,199 COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered in Ontario, marking an increase of 30,369. Of the latest shots administered, 10,030 were first doses and 20,339 were second doses.

In Ontario, 87.4 per cent of people aged 12-plus have received at least one vaccine dose and nearly 83 per cent are fully vaccinated.

Elgin and Oxford

Southwestern Public Health (SWPH) does not update COVID-19 data over the weekend.

On Friday, SWPH reported:

  • 4,483 total cases
  • 92 active cases
  • 4,302 resolved cases
  • 89 deaths to date
  • 1,345 variant of concern cases, with 774 Alpha, 517 Delta and 54 Beta or Gamma

Of the 92 active cases in the region, 47 were in Elgin County (including 14 in Aylmer and Bayam) and 45 were in Oxford County (including 12 in Tillsonburg, 11 in Woodstock).

Three people with COVID-19 were hospitalized, the health unit said, with no cases in the ICU.

One outbreak, declared Oct. 3, was ongoing at Elgin Manor in St. Thomas. The outbreak was tied to two resident cases and two staff cases.

Information on school cases can be found on the websites of the Thames Valley District School Board and the London District Catholic School Board.

The region’s test positivity rate was 2.9 per cent for the week of Oct. 3, up from 2.5 per cent a week earlier.

As of Oct. 14, 82.1 per cent of those aged 12 and older in the region were fully vaccinated while 86.4 per cent have had at least one dose.

Information on where and how to get vaccinated can be found on the health unit’s website.

Huron and Perth

Huron Perth Public Health (HPPH) does not update COVID-19 data over the weekend.

On Friday, HPPH reported:

  • 2,275 total cases
  • 40 active cases
  • 2,170 recoveries
  • 66 deaths to date

Among the 40 active cases, eight were in North Perth and seven in Central Huron. Full case counts by municipality can be found on the health unit’s dashboard.

There were no patients hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Friday. There was one active COVID-19 case involving a health-care worker.

HPPH reported five outbreaks, though there were no long-term care home, retirement home or hospital outbreaks.

Read more:
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Two of the outbreaks involved schools:

  • Huron Christian School in Clinton (six student cases)
  • Stratford District Christian School in Stratford (two student cases)

The other outbreaks were listed as a community outbreak, a congregate living setting outbreak and a workplace outbreak. No further details were provided.

Data on school cases can be found on the websites of the Avon-Maitland District School Board and the Huron-Perth Catholic District School Board.

The region’s test positivity rate was 2.3 per cent for the week of Oct. 3, down from 2.6 per cent the week of Sept. 26.

HPPH’s vaccine dashboard showed that as of Oct. 12, 79.6 per cent of those aged 12 and older were fully vaccinated while 84.1 per cent have had at least one dose.

Information on how and where to get a vaccine can be found on the health unit’s website.

Sarnia and Lambton

On Saturday, Lambton Public Health (LPH) reported:

  • 4,059 total cases (an increase of 11)
  • 79 active cases
  • 3,910 resolved cases (an increase of 12)
  • 70 deaths to date

LPH does not update specific COVID-19 data over the weekend.

As of Friday, a total of 582 variant of concern cases were confirmed. Of that total, 439 have been Alpha, 125 have been Delta and 18 have been Gamma.

Five COVID-19 patients were in the care of Bluewater Health.

LPH reported active outbreaks at two unidentified workplaces, declared on Oct. 3 and Oct. 8, linked to four and two cases, respectively.

Read more:
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Three outbreaks linked to schools were active, one at Confederation Central Public School, declared Oct. 12, and linked to fewer than five cases. The two other active outbreaks were declared on Oct. 14 at Cathcart Boulevard Public School and Gregory A Horgan Catholic School, both linked to fewer than five cases.

All active cases at schools within the Lambton Kent District School Board can be found online, as can cases at schools within the St. Clair Catholic District School Board.

The test positivity rate for the week of Oct. 3 was 3.6 per cent, down from 3.7 per cent the week prior.

Among those aged 12 and older, 78.25 per cent are fully vaccinated and 82.6 per cent have had at least one dose.

Residents can book and re-book COVID-19 vaccine appointments or find information on vaccine availability at pharmacies using the health unit’s registration page. People can also call the vaccine call centre at 226-254-8222.

Those who are able to get vaccinated on short notice are encouraged to sign up for Lambton Public Health’s daily Vaccine Standby List.

— With files from Global News’ Jacquelyn LeBel, Sawyer Bogdan and Ryan Rocca

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Mrazek injury forces Leafs to add U of T goalie

TORONTO – Alex Bishop is set to live out his dream.

The Maple Leafs have their fingers crossed the University of Toronto goalie doesn’t move from the end of the bench.

Bishop will dress as backup to starter Jack Campbell on Saturday night against the Ottawa Senators.

Petr Mrazek was sidelined because of a groin injury and the team facing a salary cap squeeze.

The situation is compounded by defenceman Justin Holl unavailable to play due to illness.

Toronto could have sent a player that doesn’t require waivers to the American Hockey League and recalled goaltender Michael Hutchinson — the club’s third option last season — as the No. 2 behind Campbell, if Holl was healthy.

The organization instead signed the 24-year-old Bishop of Richmond Hill, Ont., with his three seasons of Quebec Major Junior Hockey League experience, to an amateur tryout and hopes Campbell gets through the evening unscathed.

“There’s a lot of things that, to be honest, aren’t my department, and I’m not really aware,” was Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe’s attempt to explain the rationale.

“But really it just comes down to the fact that the flat (salary) cap has created some situations here that are a lot more difficult to manage even than they were a year ago when they had the taxi squad and a third goalie.

“We’re going through that here now.”

Holl has cold symptoms and test results for COVID-19 had yet to come back as of Saturday morning, Keefe said, but even if they’re negative, Holl wasn’t well enough to suit up against the Senators.

The good news for the Leafs, who are tight to the cap, is Mrazek continues to be evaluated for a groin problem suffered in Thursday’s 3-2 loss to the Senators in the nation’s capital.

Since Mrazek wasn’t placed on injured reserve — a move that would have freed up cap space to recall Hutchison — it points to Toronto’s optimism Mrazek’s ailment isn’t serious.

“That’s the situation,” Keefe said. “A lot of teams have already gone through it last season and I suspect a lot more will this season with the rules going back to normal and not necessarily having the COVID exemptions.

“That’s where we’re at.”

The Leafs have recent experience with strange goaltending moments.

They were the opponent when two Carolina goalies, including Mrazek, were injured on a Saturday night in Toronto on Feb. 22, 2020.

That forced emergency backup David Ayres into action.

The-then-42-year-old Zamboni driver allowed goals on the Leafs’ first two shots after entering the fray that memorable night, but Ayres stopped the next eight in a stunning 6-3 Hurricanes’ victory that catapulted him into the public eye.

Toronto defenceman T.J. Brodie said he can’t imagine the thoughts going through Bishop’s head when he got the call.

“I’m sure the nerves are probably going,” he said. “But it’s exciting.”

Keefe said the situation shouldn’t impact his team’s approach against Ottawa.

“Whether you’re a coach or a player, you don’t give much thought to the backup goaltender,” Keefe said. “It has nothing to do with what we’re trying to focus on.”

Leafs winger Alexander Kerfoot said Bishop looked good during Saturday’s morning skate.

“To be honest, I haven’t even spoken to him yet,” he said when asked about his temporary teammate’s demeanour. “I just saw him on the ice, and I didn’t score any on him, so he looked pretty good.”

The six-foot-four, 205-pound Bishop spent the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons playing for U of T, but his last game action was before the COVID-19 pandemic on Feb. 16, 2020.

The Varsity Blues don’t start their 2021-22 regular season until next month.

“It’s a quick turnaround,” Kerfoot said. “It’s an unfortunate situation, but it’s a good opportunity for him.

“We’re fortunate to have him here. It’s just about enjoying the experience and relishing it.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 16. 2021.

___

Follow @JClipperton_CP at Twitter

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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