Lockdown different this time around

When the pandemic first hit and shutdown orders came into effect many local businesses were able to keep their doors open, but this wave is different.

Although local businesses followed lockdown regulations over the last year, this is the first time since the pandemic began that some have closed their doors or restricted access to items.

For example, Canadian Tire has locked its doors and only curbside pickup is available.

Giant Tiger has blocked off large sections where what is deemed non-essential goods are not accessible and the number of people accessing other businesses is being limited to the lowest legal capacity numbers.

The public is asked to follow the strict guidelines of staying at home unless it is necessary to leave for essentials such as groceries or prescriptions.

The new order remains in effect for the next two weeks.


A look at the local numbers

Public Health Sudbury & Districts is reporting 80 new cases of COVID-19 over the last three days; 75 in the Greater Sudbury area, three in the Sudbury District and two in the Manitoulin District.

Considering resolved cases, there are 238 active cases throughout the agency’s catchment area.

Health Sciences North is reporting there are 44 admitted patients, 28 of them confirmed as active cases, 16 waiting for test results.

Of the 44, five are in Intensive Care.

Algoma Public Health is reporting 11 new cases of COVID-19, all from Sault Ste. Marie and area.
An outbreak has also been declared at Echo Bay Early Learning Centre.
Child Care Algoma has made the decision to close the centre until April 26th.

Considering resolved cases, there are 41 active cases in the Algoma District with one individual being treated in hospital.

The agency also reports that one of the cases is an individual who does not live in the local area but is receiving treatment within the district.


Accessing hospital surgeries and services

Northern Ontario hospitals are exempt from ramping down on their non-urgent procedures … for now.

Last Thursday, Health Minister Christine Elliott said the third wave, fueled by more transmissible COVID-19 variants, has pushed the province’s hospitals to their limits and the government had to act.

Hospitals with the exemption of those in Northern Ontario were instructed from Ontario Health on Thursday night to ramp down non-urgent procedures starting today.

The move came hours after Premier Doug Ford stated ramping up the province’s vaccine rollout will help address the pressure on hospitals.

Patients will only be transferred to an alternate site without consent when a hospital experiences “a major surge event” and when the same quality of care provided can be assured adds Elliott.

The updated orders which will be in effect for at least the next two weeks, come as Ontario hospitals start ramping down elective surgeries and non-urgent procedures to ensure they have the capacity to treat COVID-19 patients.

Elliott said the orders and the ramping down of elective surgeries could increase ICU capacity by up to 1,000 patient beds.


Third wave peaking

Canada’s chief medical officer of health says we appear to be heading for the peak of this latest wave of COVID-19 infections.

Doctor Theresa Tam says strong public health measures must remain in place, in light of the rapid spread of the more-infectious variants of concern.

Tam notes that intensive care admissions across the country are up 23 per cent over the past week with an increasing proportion of them in younger people.


Are we heading for a fourth wave

Here in Ontario, officials have described the latest surge in COVID-19 cases as the third wave and a member of the government’s science advisory table says we could be heading for a fourth.

Doctor Isaac Bogoch says reopening too soon could lead to another surge in infections and hospitals won’t have had enough time to treat people who are currently suffering from the virus.

Bogoch says a tightening-up of the province’s colour-coded restrictions will probably be necessary after the 28-day stay-at-home order expires early next month.


Pharmacies and the vaccine

The province says another 700 pharmacies across Ontario will be delivering inoculations this week.

That will bring to more than 14-hundred the number available to vaccinate those 55 and older with the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says it’s critical that we continue to follow public health restrictions and she’s urging everyone to get their shot, when it’s available.

Our province reported a record 44-hundred and 56 new COVID-19 infections yesterday.

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