The CORONAVIRUS REPORT for MONDAY, JANUARY 4, 2021

COVID 19 numbers climb in local districts

Public Health Sudbury & Districts and Algoma Public Health are both reporting new cases over the weekend.

Sudbury’s health unit has identified an outbreak at St-Joseph’s Villa following the report of one case of COVID-19 in a staff member who is now in self-isolation.

The agency is advising the public of potential low-risk exposure to COVID-19 for anyone who traveled on the Ontario Northland bus on Monday, December 21st.
This bus service departed Toronto at 2:00 pm and arrived in Sudbury at 6:45 pm.

Public Health Sudbury & Districts reported seven new cases of COVID-19 on the first update since December 31st.

The current number of active known cases in the region now stands at 20.

Algoma declared an outbreak at Extendicare Maple View in the late evening of December 31st following confirmation of COVID-19 in two staff members.

The health unit states the two staff members remain in isolation to prevent further transmission.

There are also 11 new cases identified, most of them identified as close contact and all are in self-isolation.

There are now 19 active cases in the district.

 

It’s back to school today … virtually

Ontario schoolchildren are back in class today, virtual class, that is.

Elementary students in the province, as well as high school students in the north, won’t return to in-person teaching until next Monday.

High school students in the south won’t have in-person classes until January 25th.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce says, despite a continuing rise in COVID-19 infections in Ontario, schools are still very safe and he’s not planning to change the timeline.

 

A look at the numbers in long-term care

One-third of the long-term care homes are now experiencing outbreaks of COVID-19…..a record high.

The latest provincial figures show 207 of the 626 homes in our province now have at least one case of the virus, including 19 new outbreaks announced yesterday.

But provincial health officials say preventive measures such as tighter restrictions on movement and continual testing have reduced the impact.

They note the size of the outbreaks are far lower than they were last spring….and more than half have no cases among residents, just staff.

 

More restrictions expected in Toronto zone

More restrictions on businesses are to be announced for Toronto this week, as coronavirus cases continue to soar in the city.

Health officials are bracing for a jump in infections in the wake of the Christmas Holiday.

The virus takes between 10 days and two weeks to manifest itself.

Toronto has been in the Grey-Lockdown zone since November 23rd, but the rolling seven-day average of new cases has jumped by more than 55 per cent since then.

 

Travelling politicians disciplined … or not

The number of politicians who travelled overseas last month, despite federal and provincial advice against such journeys, continues to grow.

In Alberta, six MLA’s, including a cabinet minister, admit they went abroad over Christmas, but Premier Jason Kenny says none will be disciplined.

Saskatchewan’s Transportation minister also gets to keep his job after admitting he went to California.

Two of Quebec’s provincial Liberal caucus headed overseas, they, too, will not be penalized.

And two federal Liberal MP’s who decided to travel outside the country, have lost their parliamentary positions.

Last week, Ontario’s finance minister, Rod Phillips, resigned after vacationing in the Caribbean over Christmas.

 

Protecting the travel benefit

The federal government is promising to close a loophole that could allow those who travelled overseas to collect the new Canada Recovery Sickness benefit upon their return.

The program pays 500 dollars a week for two weeks, to people who need to stay home in quarantine.

Liberal MP Pablo Rodriguez says the goal of the program is to ensure that workers can self-isolate, and not infect their fellow employees.

He says the government will act to ban vacationers from receiving the benefit during their mandatory 14-day quarantine after they return home.

 

South of the border – Georgia runoff elections

Two runoff elections, set for tomorrow in Georgia, will determine how much trouble President-elect Joe Biden will have in advancing his legislative agenda.

Both of the state’s Senate seats are up for grabs.

If the Democrats win both, there will be 50 Senators from each party.

But Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris would cast the deciding vote.

The Republicans only need to hold onto one seat to keep control of the upper chamber.

During a phone call on Saturday, President Donald Trump urged Georgia’s Republican secretary of state to “find” just enough votes to overturn Biden’s victory in the state.

Brad Raffensperger refused.

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