Algoma Public Health is reporting the second COVID-19 related death in the Algoma District.
Dr. Jennifer Loo, the medical officer of health, offered condolences to the family and out of respect to them, no further information will be shared.
She adds there are 11 active cases with one person currently hospitalized.
Public Health Sudbury & Districts medical officer of health Dr. Penny Sutcliffe reports that laboratory testing has revealed a possible case of the more highly transmissible strain of the virus.
She says further sequencing of the sample is underway and the findings are expected within days.
Dr. Sutcliffe adds the individual is doing well and has a history of international travel which required quarantine and the helped to contain the virus.
The agency is also reported 12 new cases in the City of Greater Sudbury bringing the total number of active cases to 77.
Jason Turnbull of Health Sciences North says there are 16 patients admitted to the hospital with nine confirmed cases of COVID and testing underway for the other seven.
Vaccine arrives for long-term care facilities in Public Health Sudbury & Districts jurisdiction
This week marks the start of the much-anticipated vaccination program for residents of long-term care and high-risk retirement homes within the jurisdiction of Public Health Sudbury & Districts.
Medical officer of health, Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, says the agency is receiving enough quantities of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine over the next two weeks to immunize all residents of the facilities in the Sudbury and Manitoulin districts by February 5th.
She adds area long-term care homes will be sequenced over the that time based on vaccine availability, COVID-19 case rates and outbreaks, and other factors such as logistics to avoid vaccine wastage.
Dr. Sutcliffe says this news follows on the successful vaccination of residents, staff, and essential care givers of the Wikwemikong Nursing Home on January 13.
Public Health is working closely with community partners to complete vaccinations by February 5 or earlier. The vaccine will be offered to everyone eligible to receive it on a voluntary basis. The vaccine is a safe and effective tool in stopping the spread of COVID-19 and protecting health of everyone, including our most vulnerable, in the community.
The critical need for COVID-19 vaccine to protect our most vulnerable has been further highlighted with several recent outbreaks declared locally, emphasizes Dr. Sutcliffe.
Most recently, Public Health Sudbury & Districts has declared COVID-19 outbreaks at Pius XII Catholic School, following three associated cases, and at Summit Human Services (group home), a congregate living setting, following the report of one case of COVID-19 in a staff member.
“Our worry with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine supply reductions was that we would have to wait longer and so we are thrilled that supplies of the Moderna vaccine are being made available to protect vulnerable people across the province,” notes Dr. Sutcliffe. “I would like to thank long-term care homes and community paramedicine for their support in partnering in this truly unprecedented vaccination plan.
The vaccine outlook at the provincial level
The person in charge of Ontario’s vaccine rollout program says we shouldn’t despair about the shortage of COVID-19 vaccines.
Retired general, Rick Hillier, says he’s confident the province will still reach its goal of inoculating all Ontarians by this fall.
The provincial government has altered its vaccination schedule, in light of the delay in shipments from Pfizer as it expands its plant in Belgium.
Efforts to cover long-term care staff and caregivers is being paused, so the remaining vaccines can be administered to residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
Premier Doug Ford says it’s critical that Ontario’s most vulnerable seniors be at the head of the line.
Health Minister Christine Elliott says people must continue to stay at home and follow public health guidelines, until there’s a sufficient supply to cover every Ontarian who wants to receive the inoculation.
There are now three variants
Provincial health officials say there’s evidence that the UK variant of the coronavirus is not only more contagious, but may be more dangerous than the original strain.
Doctor Vanessa Allen, chief of microbiology at Public Health Ontario, says their latest evidence shows the UK version may be causing more severe illness in some who contract it.
So far, there have been three variants of the original virus that first emerged in China.
However, none of the Brazilian or South African versions have yet been detected in Ontario.
Emergency Act could be invoked
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland is the latest to threaten more limits on travel, in efforts to halt the spread of COVID-19.
Freeland says the federal government is considering stronger measures, including mandatory hotel quarantines for those who return from non-essential trips outside of Canada.
On Sunday, Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau, said all options are on the table, including the possibility of implementing the Emergencies Act.
That would give the federal cabinet wide-ranging powers to limit travel across the country.