Change up in vaccination scheduling in Algoma
The Elliot Lake Family Health Team is adding some new categories to administering vaccinations this week.
Team spokesperson Dr. Cathy Groh says some new categories have been added to people receiving their COVID-19 vaccine at the Collins Hall clinic.
She says people aged 70 and over are now getting their vaccinations and Algoma Public Health has told her people with high-risk medical conditions can expect to be vaccinated in early May.
Dr. Groh adds Shoppers Drug Mart, the only pharmacy between Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie offering the vaccine, can vaccinate anyone 55 and over.
Eligible people can call 705-461-8882 to book an appointment.
Barricades come down in Sagamok-Anishinabek FN
Sagamok-Anishinabek FN has taken down its barricades.
Chief Alan Ozawanimki and council held a special ceremony this weekend to thank the guardians for their work over the last year who worked barricades erected at the outbreak of COVID-19.
He says the community has a strong start to its vaccination program and the situation is very different from a year ago.
The chief says the last year was spent educating the members and now the community’s limited resources will be focused on stronger preparation for potential incident response.
He adds the decision was not made overnight with council deliberating at length, adding they have their emergency plan in place if it needs to be implemented and barricades erected once again.
A look at the local numbers
Public Health Sudbury & Districts is reporting 42 new cases of COVID-19 since Friday.
One is unknown, three in the Sudbury District and the rest all in Greater Sudbury.
Considering resolved cases, there are 182 active cases within the agency’s jurisdiction.
Health Sciences North reported as of Sunday evening, they have 25 admitted patients, 18 confirmed with the virus and the rest waiting for results.
Of the 25, six are in intensive care.
Algoma Public Health is also reporting an uptick over the last three days, eight new cases since Friday, one in Elliot Lake, one in Central Algoma and the rest in the Sault Ste. Marie area.
Considering resolved cases, there are 49 active cases in the district with one person in hospital.
Vaccinating with AstraZeneca
The provincial government is expanding its inoculation program, and will offer the AstraZeneca vaccine to all those 40 and older, starting tomorrow.
It will be administered in pharmacies and doctors’ offices.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunizations had been recommending the vaccine only be used in those 55 and older, because of reports of a handful of cases of blood clots among the tens of millions of doses administered around the world.
But Health Canada says the vaccine is safe to use, and the risk of blood clots is far higher among those who contract COVID-19.
Ontario has a large stockpile of AstraZeneca vaccine that has not yet been used.
Federal health care workers coming to Ontario
Ottawa will be sending federal health care workers to Ontario, to help cope with the massive third wave of COVID-19 that’s engulfing our province.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the staff will be deployed to the hardest-hit areas, especially the Metro Toronto region….and rapid-testing kits will be brought in to assist.
Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc adds the federal government is also contacting other provinces to see if they might have extra health care staff who could be sent to our province.
The moves come as Ontario continues to see record-high numbers of COVID-19 cases, with more than 42-hundred infections reported again yesterday.
COVID-19 variants lead the surge
Canada’s chief medical officer of health says the third wave of COVID-19 continues to surge higher.
Doctor Theresa Tam says the average daily number of hospitalizations and deaths has jumped by more than one-third over the past week.
Tam adds that case numbers, positivity rates, and intensive care admissions are also rising quickly as we battle this third wave.
She says the more-contagious variants of concern are driving the increases……and we must all continue to follow public health restrictions to bring the numbers down.
The federal budget
The federal government introduces its first budget in more than two years today……and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic will dominate its content.
Reports say Ottawa will be spending billions of dollars to extend assistance programs through the fall, and will fund job-creation efforts to get more people back to work.
There will also be a national child-care program announced, which is expected to be in operation within two years…..although negotiations with the provinces will be necessary first.
To help raise money, a federal sales tax will be imposed on all on-line sales, and there will be a digital tax imposed on internet giants such as Google and Facebook.
The federal government’s spending deficit over the past year is expected to come in at just under 400-billion dollars…..the highest since the Second World War.