An uptick in Algoma numbers

The Algoma Health Unit is reporting 11 new COVID-19 cases all from Sault Ste. Marie and area.

Dr. Jennifer Loo says close contacts are being notified by the health unit.

She adds there are two flights on December 30th being investigated.

The two are Air Canada flight 8498 from Windsor to Toronto, passengers in rows 3-9 and Air Canada flight 8321 from Toronto to Sault Ste. Marie, including passengers in rows 3-7 and flight crews from both planes that may have served these rows.

She says the increase is alarming and is appealing to people to follow lockdown protocols and only go out for necessities.


High risk COVID-19 exposure related to New Year’s Eve gathering

A New Year’s Eve gathering has led to Algoma Public Health issuing an advisory to the public about potential high-risk exposure to COVID-19.

According to the release, the New Year’s Eve gathering was held at 66 Sage Street in Garden River without the homeowner’s knowledge.

The health unit states it is imperative that everyone who attended should self-isolate immediately and to also contact the health unit to help them reach out to other attendees to prevent wider spread of the virus.

The Algoma Health Unit can be reached at 705-759-5404 or 1-866-892-0172 ext. 5404. If no one answers, leave a voicemail and they will return your phone call. Self-isolation means not leaving home for work or school, not using public transportation, and avoiding contact with others.

Public Health is advising the public of this exposure because we do not have information to contact everyone who may have been exposed.


Coronavirus mutation

Provincial health officials are confirming three new cases of the coronavirus mutation that is much more contagious than the original strain.

That brings to six the number found in Ontario … the variant was first uncovered in the UK.

All three new cases are in the Greater Toronto area, and have links to people who travelled from, or through, Britain recently.

Health officials say there’s no evidence this version causes a more severe illness, adding current vaccines should be effective against it.


The virus in long-term homes

The number of COVID-19 cases at Ontario’s long-term care homes continues to increase.

There are now 223 homes reporting at least one case of the coronavirus, more than a third of the total number of homes across the province.

Health officials say the outbreaks are smaller than they were in the spring, thanks to tighter controls on movement and the continual testing of patients and staff.

A long-term care facility in suburban Toronto is now reporting 64 deaths since an outbreak began last month.

The North York General Hospital took over control of care at the Scarborough facility on Boxing Day.

NDP leader Andrea Horwath is calling on the Ford government to recall the legislature immediately to deal with the problem.

She says the military should be called in again to help stabilize the situation.

The legislature isn’t due to be called back until mid-February.


Travelling politicians reprimanded

More politicians are paying the political price for travelling abroad during the Christmas holidays, despite advice from public health experts that everyone stay home.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenny has changed his tune, and has demoted the six MLAs who were outside the country over the holidays.

That includes the province’s municipal affairs minister.

Saskatchewan’s Transportation minister has stepped down after travelling to California.

And a third Liberal MP has lost his committee position for heading to the U-S for the holidays.


U.K. in total lockdown

England is now under the toughest lockdown restrictions since March.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson says the measure is necessary to stem the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the country.

He notes tougher restrictions in London and the south-east part of England haven’t worked.

Schools are being closed after reopening for a day after the Christmas break, and students will now switch to on-line learning.

The restrictions are to last until at least February 22nd.

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