High risk in Espanola area
Public Health Sudbury & Districts is advising the public of a potential high-risk of exposure to COVID-19.
Anyone who attended a social gathering at 451 Old Webbwood Road in Espanola last Friday, April 23, is especially at risk.
The health agency is advising anyone who attended the gathering to seek COVID-19 testing as soon as possible.
In addition to this, if anyone is symptomatic or become symptomatic at any time, seek testing as soon as possible.
If anyone receives a negative test result, they must remain home and self-isolate for 14 full days from April 23rd.
Vaccines for 55 and older starts today
Ontario will begin offering COVID-19 vaccines to everyone over 18 years old by the end of May.
With vaccine supply increasing, Health Minister Christine Elliott said Ontario is expanding booking eligibility starting today for those 55 and over.
People with high-risk health conditions including obesity (B-M-I over 40), treatments causing immunosuppression like chemotherapy and intellectual or developmental disabilities will be able to book an appointment starting Monday.
Ontario’s phase two schedule for booking eligibility has those 50 and over eligible starting Monday, a week later expanding to 40 and over, then 30 and over by May 17th.
Elliot said the province is on track to vaccinate 40 percent of adult Ontarians with a first dose by Saturday.
Closer to home, Public Health Sudbury & Districts says individuals 55 years of age and older in this calendar year can book an appointment to receive the vaccine.
The booking can be made either online or by phone.
How to book an appointment in a Public Health clinic
Starting April 30, adults 55 years of age and older in 2021 can use the provincial system to book an appointment online. Online booking is a simple and efficient process and helps reduce call volumes. Individuals can also help people who are eligible by booking an appointment on their behalf.
Book by phone
Starting today, adults 55 years of age and older in 2021 can also call to book an appointment. Individuals can also help people who are eligible by calling to book an appointment on their behalf.
Main line: call 705.674.2299 (toll-free: 1.800.708.2505), between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., seven days a week.
To help with call volumes, an additional call centre has been set up.
Alternate line: call 1.844.782.2273, between 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week.
All vaccination clinics are by appointment only and COVID-safe measures are in place.
A look at the local numbers …
Public Health Sudbury & Districts is reporting eight new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, three in Greater Sudbury and five in the Sudbury District.
Considering resolved cases, there are 79 active cases in the agency’s jurisdiction.
Health Sciences North is reporting they have 32 admitted patients for COVID-19, 22 positives and the other ten waiting for test results.
Of the 32, ten individuals are in intensive care.
Algoma Public Health is reporting three new cases of the virus, one in Elliot Lake and the other two in the Sault Ste. Marie area.
Taking into account resolved cases, there are 41 active cases within the district with two people in hospital.
Could the third wave be cresting?
The latest forecasts put together by the government’s Science Advisory Table show that the third wave of COVID-19 is cresting, thanks to the stay-at-home order that’s reduced peoples’ movement across the province.
But the group says the situation remains precarious mainly because transmission of the virus in workplaces remains high.
It’s predicting two-thousand new cases a day into June if the current restrictions remain in place.
Their report is calling for further limits on the opening of businesses, and an effective program of paid sick leave, to reduce those new infections.
Three days of paid sick leave
A government bill to allow three days of paid sick leave for those affected by COVID-19 passed the legislature yesterday.
It was a unanimous vote, even though the opposition has been highly critical of its provisions.
The measure will see employees allowed to receive up to a maximum of 200 dollars per day but the program expires at the end of September.
NDP leader Andrea Horwath says people still won’t be able to avoid losing pay if they have to spend the recommended 14 days in self-isolation.
The chair of the Science Advisory Table says it’s a start but not enough.
Doctor Steini Brown says ten days of paid sick leave is necessary, if workplace infections are to be brought under control.
Higher acceptance of vaccine
New figures show that seniors are accepting COVID-19 vaccinations at a very high rate.
Doctor Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer, says 90 per cent of those 80 and older have received at least one dose of vaccine.
For those 70 and older, the rate is more than 80 percent.
That’s higher than the acceptance of flu inoculations.
Njoo admits that the dangers presented by COVID-19 likely contributed to the higher level of vaccinations.
But he’s hoping the current pandemic proves the value of vaccines, and will lead to increased acceptance of inoculations for other diseases in the future.