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COVID-19 (Coronavirus) - How are you coping with this?


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iOS 15.1 just rolled out with the option of having your vaccination card in the wallet app of iPhone in case you don't like carrying your paper QR code. 

In order to enable this, you have to load the info to the Health app. For Ontario, you scan the QR code with your camera's phone and it will prompt you that it will be loaded to the health app. Then a new option should show up saying "option to add to wallet" and it will add the info in a more accessible format.

With more places such as intercity travel by plane or train requiring proof of vaccination, it is very handy versus remembering to print off your QR code or remembering where it was saved. Used mine at a restaurant showing them the proof of vaccination, but of course they didn't scan it. Simply saying "showing it is simply sufficient."

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I had 680 on in the car while I was driving to work this afternoon to hear the traffic reports and caught something about information about COVID-19 testing at the land border coming out in the next few days just as I was heading into an underground parking garage.  I had some time to kill so I got out my phone once I got back above the ground and took a look to see if there were details and this is what I found:

U.S. CDC says guidance still to come on whether to require land-border COVID-19 test

WTF?  I thought this was already settled, that the US government wasn't going to require a test driving across the border.  I called up a couple of American friends and they thought it was settled too and were sure their government said that testing wouldn't be required driving in.  So the fact that this is still up in the air and apparently is not settled came as a surprise to me but everyone I talked to about this.  It's clearly another example about how nobody's got their hands on the steering wheel to design coherent, sensible policy yet again despite all the repeated statements about "following the science" and "working tirelessly" and "being in constant communication with our partners" and all that other empty platitudes that are total vacuous hot air as evidenced by total lack of meaningful progress on anything.

I'm trying to get a vacation lined up for after November 8 and I've already had one boss conversation about shifting some time off around to move it after that date.  One of the friends I'd be staying with is trying to get some stuff to line up at his job.  The boss said we have a corporate policy about personal travel (Excuse me, that vacation time is mine, stay out of it.) and he checked with the HR department but nobody has seen any updates to it since the height of the pandemic and nobody knows what it is now, now that international travel is going to be a less than two hour car trip away in a couple of weeks, so that's settled at "just do what the government says to do at the border" if I go away.

And yet, Trudeau's tacked on another stop on the COP26 trip to Scotland to visit the Dutch PM in the Netherlands on the way.  This is after the G7 junket in Cornwall.  Tofino.  Crisscrossing the country repeatedly in the runup to the election and then during the campaign.  The powerful "essential" class using that exemption.The wealthy flying wherever and whenever they saw fit for the last 19 months using the fat wallet exemptions including a number I've lost track of how many politicians getting busted going on ill-advised vacations.  But go on a weekend trip to visit the friends you haven't seen in almost two years?  Oh no, we're going to make that incredibly expensive and a logistical nightmare of overhead and tell you second last minute that we're not going to tell you exactly what that overhead is until the last minute.

Why are the politicians even going to that climate change summit in Scotland anyways?  If they can't figure out how to make one land border work effectively, there's no way they can deal with a macro issue the scale of global climate change with any chance of success.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 10/25/2021 at 4:52 PM, GTAmissions1 said:

iOS 15.1 just rolled out with the option of having your vaccination card in the wallet app of iPhone in case you don't like carrying your paper QR code. 

In order to enable this, you have to load the info to the Health app. For Ontario, you scan the QR code with your camera's phone and it will prompt you that it will be loaded to the health app. Then a new option should show up saying "option to add to wallet" and it will add the info in a more accessible format.

With more places such as intercity travel by plane or train requiring proof of vaccination, it is very handy versus remembering to print off your QR code or remembering where it was saved. Used mine at a restaurant showing them the proof of vaccination, but of course they didn't scan it. Simply saying "showing it is simply sufficient."

McDonald’s scanned mine (with an IPad no less) , they didn’t even ask  to see my id that  the other fast food places I been to since the mandate took affect have asked me for

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8 hours ago, Wayside Observer said:

PCR test requirements at the border need to be re-examined: Tam  (alternate link)

Really, the Friday before the US border reopens to us on Monday is when they think it might be a good idea to start thinking about this?  Asleep at the switch again...

Especially the cost of obtaining one can range from $20 to $200 which the US accepts rapid tests. 

Heading back to Canada, only a PCR, NAT or NAAT (nucleic test) or pretty much a test that involves a nasal swab or saliva sample. Of course the US charges between $150 to $200 depending on where it is done. It gets pretty expensive especially for a family which every member must have their own test results. This is along with planning ahead appointments to accommodate and results within a certain amount of time before departure. 

A lot of logistical planning involved to ensure safe travel. At the same time, it does cause financial hardship along with additional work to prepare. 72 hours before departure along with carrying hardcopies just in case. 

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22 hours ago, pccstreetcar4549 said:

McDonald’s scanned mine (with an IPad no less) , they didn’t even ask  to see my id that  the other fast food places I been to since the mandate took affect have asked me for

I use a paper printout of my vaccine certificate but so far I have only had it scanned once, at the A&W on Ogilvie Road in Gloucester.  At every other place I've been to, the staff checked the sheet visually and asked for my photo ID.  They even visually checked the certificates on people's phones.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I had my COVID-19 test yesterday at 9:30 AM so I can drive home tomorrow.  No results yet. The results can take up to 72 hours to come back from when the test is administered.  However, to return to Canada, the results need to be no older than 72 hours from when the test is administered when you arrive at the border.  To be clear: that’s results no older than 72 hours from when you take the test itself, not 72 hours from when the results come back so notice the potential timing problem here - if your results take 72 hours to come back from the processing lab, they’re already invalid for border purposes as soon as you get them.

Add driving time from wherever you’re staying and getting tested to the border itself and you’re starting your trip speculatively and hoping it arrives in time for you to upload in time to cross otherwise you’re going to be paying a fortune for a fast turnaround PCR test like Joe you used to pay extra for one hour photo processing or two hour E6 slides, and I’m beginning to wonder if that’s what’s going to happen to me tomorrow when I come home.  Of course, going to the United States  by car, all you have to do is state that you’re fully vaccinated and have your paperwork with you in case they ask to see it.

So, on Friday, November 5, right before the border reopens on Monday, November 8, Tam says they might start looking into that testing requirement:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.cbc.ca/amp/1.6238235

A bit late to get started when the details of the US reopening were announced weeks ago.  It also underscores the total lack of co-ordination between countries that’s obvious to anyone watching what’s been happening the last 20 months instead of accepting the pithy statements about working closely with all the stakeholders and international partners at face value.

Given the total lack of a three way concerted strategy to meet the pandemic head on by Canada, US, Mexico on all sides from vaccination, travel, the PPE debacle in the early days, you name it, why even bother tiers that Three Amigos, pardon me, Stooges summit?  If it means nothing during an unprecedented global pandemic, is it going to mean anything substantial at any other time?  I guess it’s as good an excuse as any for Trudeau to set even more carbon on fire in the engines of that Challenger jet he’s been enjoying flying around in so much lately while preaching climate change due to combustion of carbon-laden fuels to everyone else.  Rules, and the exemptions to them, can apply to more things than just COVID-19, apparently.

Meanwhile, even if I end up handing over my credit card and paying through the nose on the way home tomorrow, after so long, it’s been great to finally visit and catch up with friends and do some streetcar stuff.  A bunch of us had dinner at a nice restaurant last night after checking in on another PCC car.  It probably won’t be ready in January like originally thought. Hopefully the border is still open when it is.  After all this nobody, nobody trusts the politicians not to arbitrarily close it down again for an indefinite period of time.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Last night, I attended a concert. CHVRCHES were the soundtrack to my long overdue return to Slovakia, and it seemed only fitting that they should be the soundtrack to my long overdue return to live music.

Last night, Slovakia went back into lockdown.

The contrast is dizzying. I never thought I'd be glad not to be there, but seeing as Europe is on track to become uninhabitable from October to May every year for the indefinite future...

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On 11/25/2021 at 9:53 AM, T3G said:

Last night, I attended a concert. CHVRCHES were the soundtrack to my long overdue return to Slovakia, and it seemed only fitting that they should be the soundtrack to my long overdue return to live music.

Last night, Slovakia went back into lockdown.

The contrast is dizzying. I never thought I'd be glad not to be there, but seeing as Europe is on track to become uninhabitable from October to May every year for the indefinite future...

I think doing that trip to Slovakia and my trip to the US as soon as it was possible were both good decisions.  Nobody I know trusts the politicians not to shut everything down indefinitely again.  The emergence of that new variant has me wondering if that might be coming especially if it sidesteps around the existing vaccines easily.  The politicians need to STFU about "build back better" and manage the day to day competently which includes making a commitment to working around COVID-19 instead of shutting everything down indefinitely as if it's March, 2020 all over again.  We have far more tools in the box plus a better understanding now, a crude brute force approach should not be at the top of the list anymore.

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7 hours ago, Wayside Observer said:

I think doing that trip to Slovakia and my trip to the US as soon as it was possible were both good decisions. 

No kidding.

I'm not worried that I won't get a chance to go again next year because I'm wiser now, but it is nevertheless most disappointing to see that they haven't learned a single lesson from the disastrous past year. Another strict stay at home order! I can't believe they still think this is actually a solution.

As for the new variant, the less said about that, the better..

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12 hours ago, tomsbuspage said:

Unless there's a serious change in approach that wasn't mentioned in the article, do they actually expect it to work more effectively this time around than the previous border closures did against the earlier variants?

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2 hours ago, Wayside Observer said:

Unless there's a serious change in approach that wasn't mentioned in the article, do they actually expect it to work more effectively this time around than the previous border closures did against the earlier variants?

Of course not, but it buys time.

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…having said that, it should surprise no one that the cat’s out of the bag here anyway. However, it would be prudent to overreact now and prevent unnecessary seeding opportunities, than to wish we had in hindsight, at least until we know what we’re collectively dealing with.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/omicron-variant-canada-travellers-1.6265927

Also while their transparency and close surveillance was critical in preserving life, The virus doesn’t care about the South African government’s hurt feelings.

 

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14 hours ago, Bus_Medic said:

…having said that, it should surprise no one that the cat’s out of the bag here anyway. However, it would be prudent to overreact now and prevent unnecessary seeding opportunities, than to wish we had in hindsight, at least until we know what we’re collectively dealing with.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/omicron-variant-canada-travellers-1.6265927

Also while their transparency and close surveillance was critical in preserving life, The virus doesn’t care about the South African government’s hurt feelings.

 

That's kind of what I was getting at.  Every time a previous variant emerged, within a couple of days of being discovered at the origin, it's always turned out to be "it's here too...and has been for a while", and that's when the border was "closed" too except we know what a Swiss Cheese that was due to all the exemptions.

It's probably too early to know for certain but if the stories reporting that the new variant's symptoms are mild despite being more contagious are true, this might not be all that bad if it shoves out the previous variants, also very contagious but also more serious if you do get sick, in place of something a lot milder as opposed to the previous variants that were both more contagious and more severe than the last.  If that is indeed the case, we might, maybe, hopefully, fingers crossed on this, be starting to see the disease burn itself out and becoming endemic.

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In terms of buying time - what, realistically, can be done, besides ramping up vaccinations for the newly eligible age groups and boosters, that could avoid leading us into a lockdown? We still managed to import enough Delta despite the hotel quarantine and astronomical costs associated with it. I predict this travel ban is the canary in the coalmine and that we'll be back in lockdown again with a stay at home suggestion from the very end of the year/early next year until May or June. I hope I'm wrong.

Besides, hasn't the variant been found in Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, France, the UK, Israel, and Hong Kong, too? We'll just source it from elsewhere instead.

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44 minutes ago, Wayside Observer said:

That's kind of what I was getting at.  Every time a previous variant emerged, within a couple of days of being discovered at the origin, it's always turned out to be "it's here too...and has been for a while", and that's when the border was "closed" too except we know what a Swiss Cheese that was due to all the exemptions.

It's probably too early to know for certain but if the stories reporting that the new variant's symptoms are mild despite being more contagious are true, this might not be all that bad if it shoves out the previous variants, also very contagious but also more serious if you do get sick, in place of something a lot milder as opposed to the previous variants that were both more contagious and more severe than the last.  If that is indeed the case, we might, maybe, hopefully, fingers crossed on this, be starting to see the disease burn itself out and becoming endemic.

I was thinking the same thing, time will tell if I’m naive or not.

33 minutes ago, T3G said:

In terms of buying time - what, realistically, can be done, besides ramping up vaccinations for the newly eligible age groups and boosters, that could avoid leading us into a lockdown? We still managed to import enough Delta despite the hotel quarantine and astronomical costs associated with it. I predict this travel ban is the canary in the coalmine and that we'll be back in lockdown again with a stay at home suggestion from the very end of the year/early next year until May or June. I hope I'm wrong.

Besides, hasn't the variant been found in Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, France, the UK, Israel, and Hong Kong, too? We'll just source it from elsewhere instead.

For one, it could buy some vulnerable populations some time until re tooled boosters,(BioNTech’s estimate is 100 days to production).

 ICU capacity will be the driver of what domestic freedoms we get this winter, and the more people are pro active in curbing their interactions on their own now,  the less likely the government will have to step in for them. So many of us have rallied around personal freedoms, forgetting that they’re inexorably linked to personal responsibilities.

 

Since the virus doesn’t care, I’ll apologize for cramping your itinerary on it’s behalf.

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17 minutes ago, Bus_Medic said:

Since the virus doesn’t care, I’ll apologize for cramping your itinerary on it’s behalf.

Bold of you to assume that I'd be foolish enough to plan an itinerary with the threat of lockdowns every fall and winter from now until the end of human civilization looming.

My itinerary was, and is, much the same as last winter... to go right from home to work and then right back home again like a good boy.

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I never told you guys about my vacation to the United States.

I drove down on Wednesday, November 10.  The border crossing was so civilized it was pre-9/11 perfunctory other than being asked if I was fully vaccinated.  I had my original Ontario papers with me but wasn't asked for them.  Got in at a reasonable time, had dinner with friends, took it easy on went to Strasburg and took a ride on the steam train on Friday and took a look at the stuff outside at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.  By the time we got there, the remaining steam train departures and the opening hours of the museum didn't line up well so we didn't end up going inside.

Spent Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday troubleshooting and running around PCC cars which was fun.

Monday - the friend I was staying with had to go to work and I got tested in advance of driving home at Walgreens.  This was a fiasco.  The online booking system only works with US addresses so I had to use my friend's address.  The lady at the Walgreens didn't know what she was doing and screwed the paperwork up.  I think she might have also been accidentally damaging samples as well, but I'll get to that.  Test results typically available 24 hours later so by Tuesday morning.  Start checking on Tuesday and can't figure out how to get results but I shelved this due to troubleshooting a bad lighting circuit on a PCC.  Nothing Tuesday evening so I swung by Walgreens on the way back from the trolley museum on the way to dinner with friends and discover the paperwork I was given was incmoplete and didn't include the instruction sheet for obtaining results and the wrong number had been written down.  I was asked when I was tested and the first thing out of the person I was speaking with  was "She doesn't know what she's doing."  It sounded like I wasn't the first person to come back but they pulled the stack of Monday's paperwork and found my stuff and got me set up.

Nothing Wednesday morning on the 17th as I'm getting ready to go home.  A friend and I had breakfast at a diner before I left and I checked online while we were waiting to be seated and there were still no results.  I checked again after we finished breakfast while we were waiting for the bill and it said the results were now available.  Great, just in time, and all I had to do was punch in the authentication stuff to pull them up on my phone and the file loaded and - INDETERMINATE.

Not negative, not positive, but no results.  Ok, given the total absence of symptoms, and not being around anyone who was obviously sick, but with the  Walgreens mess with the lady that screwed everything up, I could see how a damaged sample would turn into an indeterminate result.  I can also see a processing delay if the lab has to do a quality control investigation to make sure it's not a lab problem (equipment malfunction, operator error, defective supplies and materials) causing a run of indeterminates before releasing test results, which would also explain the above normal turnaround time.

I didn't have time to wait around several days and possibly have Walgreens screw up a retest so I put plan B into action, packed my stuff up, got in the truck and drove to Buffalo and paid the premium for a fast turnaround PCR test, bought a coffee and went for a walk and shot the breeze on the phone with someone at work, got notification the test results were in and punched in the authentication stuff for that one and downloaded the NOT DETECTED (aka NEGATIVE) results, uploaded everything into ArriveCAN, crossed the border and went home.

... fast forward two weeks ...

This evening, I got a text message from the friend I was staying with that had two pictures in it.  In today's mail, addressed to me at his house was a two page letter dated November 19 from his town's municipal publich health department saying that I've tested POSITIVE for COVID-19 and must quarantine for two weeks.  What a joke.  Good thing this wasn't time sensitive at all.  It is unclear in the letter if the two week quarantine period is from the date the test was administered, which would have been yesterday, the day before the letter saying I have to quarantine arrived, or from the date the letter was authored in which case it expires on Friday.

So, in the intervening time between the Walgreens test fiasco and the quarantine letter showed up:

-  Tested negative

-  Left the country and went back home

-  Enjoyed the rest of my vacation

-  Renewed the mortgage

-  Started looking for a replacement truck

-  Did a major fall cleanup on the house

-  Went back to work

Item #1 on that list.  A properly administered PCR test came back negative two days after the Walgreens test was done and two days before this letter was written.  This bothers me.  To my logical, scientific and engineering backgrounded mind, an indeterminate test result with anything means you redo the test, ideally administered at a different testing facility and run at a different processing lab to try to eliminate the the possibility of hitting any potential equipment/materials/process problem twice to the greatest extent possible which is basically how it played out for me having to use one of the fast turnaround places in Buffalo so I could come home on time.  Indeterminate test results are not negative and are not positive and it DOES NOT mean you get to make up total bullshit and say people are positive when they are not.

The American friends I visited and I have been talking about this all evening and we're all alternating between having a knee slapping laugh at what a totally bungled mess this is and having a serious discussion about all the implications this nonsense has.  Can anymore credibility on the file be lost?

Anyways, I've got a Lisa Stansfield concert blasting in the living room while dinner's in the oven cooking and on the subject of food, I just realized this same incompetent/malicious public health department claiming fraudulent positive test results inspected most of the restaurants I ate at while I was away.  Suddenly I'm not hungry anymore.

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The claim, which arrived in my friend’s mail yesterday:

79D53F9E-8449-43F6-AEC9-72DD9277EE1D.thumb.jpeg.bc016fecf158d9c0ebfa9a9115824c02.jpeg

That’s not what the lab said.  This is what the lab said:

C4FAAA33-6CE3-445C-BA3F-9BABE74646F6.thumb.jpeg.7fb6afe1227c961f17f8b5fc0462cb2d.jpeg

And the results from a viable test done later the same day after the indeterminate results came back so I could get home:

F19598C9-C4AE-48F0-A964-8C8CA50CFBDD.thumb.jpeg.9584135e18f51ad90f1a460c190fdf41.jpeg

Negative.  The score: one viable test that was negative, one non-viable test that returned indeterminate results, and one eye popping letter with a bogus claim of testing positive that looks like it was apparently based on the indeterminate results.  It’s either that or a clerical mistake since I had multiple tests and none of them were positive.

Maybe next week they’ll send a letter congratulating me, claiming I tested positive for pregnancy.

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It looks like the CBC must be trying to make amends for that lightweight words you're not supposed to use anymore article that's been slammed everywhere by publishing this today.  Considering what just happened to me, I think it's pretty timely:

On COVID restrictions, our governments keep firing up the gaslights and shifting the goalposts

Gaslight.  I actually saw the film on Saturday Night At The Movies on TVO with Elwy Yost donkeys years ago.  The premise is that couple moves into a house where a murder took place and the upstairs is walled off.  The husband sneaks into the walled off upstairs and lights a gas light so he can search for jewels, which was the reason for the murder, meanwhile his wife keeps complaining that she hears noises coming out of the abandoned upstairs whenever the lights dim down, and the husband denies that her observations are correct and browbeats her over time into questioning her own sanity.  That's where the term "gaslighting" came from.  It's a good movie, watch it if you can find it online.

"Don't worry about what the lab reports say.  Don't look at the lab reports.  The lab reports aren't important.  It's all total bullshit.  You don't need to see the lab reports.  You've tested positive for COVID-19, Mr. Wayside Observer.  Oh yeah.  Yes you have.  You tested positive because we say you tested positive.  Absolutely.  100%.  Pay no attention to what the labs doing the actual testing say."

That's gaslighting.

Or, it would be for anyone who didn't log into the lab portal and download their test results and read the report firsthand but gets a letter like that in the mail and accepts it at face value.  In my case, I was frequently checking the portal for results and examining them closely because of the requirements to return to Canada, which is why the first reaction to that letter immediately, right off the top was, "that's not what the lab said - either of them".

Anyways, I'm going to have lunch.  Then I'm going to start working the phone.  Assuming I can get a real live human on the other end, this should be good.

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