State of emergency – stay at home orders implemented
The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, is immediately declaring a third provincial state of emergency under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.
These measures are being taken in response to the rapid increase in COVID-19 transmission, the threat on the province’s hospital system capacity, and the increasing risks posed to the public by COVID-19 variants.
Case rates, hospitalizations, and ICU occupancy are increasing rapidly, threatening to overwhelm the health care system.
The province-wide Stay-at-Home order, which came into effect at midnight, requires everyone to remain at home except for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services (including getting vaccinated), outdoor exercise, or for work that cannot be done remotely.
A look at the local numbers
Public Health Sudbury & Districts is reporting 19 new cases of COVID-19, 16 in Greater Sudbury, two in the Sudbury District and one in the Manitoulin District.
Considering resolved cases, there are 270 active cases in the districts.
Health Sciences North is reporting there are 37 admitted patients.
Of those,19 have been identified as positive cases with 18 waiting for test results.
Ten patients are in intensive care.
Algoma Public Health is reporting five new cases of COVID-19, from Sault Ste. Marie and area.
Considering resolved cases, there are now 27 active cases in the Algoma District with one person in hospital.
Want paid sick days?
Premier Ford says those who lose pay because they can’t work, due to the stay-at-home order, should apply to the federal government’s support program.
The province has refused to consider appeals to reinstate a program of paid sick days.
Ford says some people are playing politics with the issue.
He’s urging them to do something positive instead like referring people to the website where they can apply for the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit.
Schools and the stay-at-home order
Despite the new stay-at-home order, schools across the province will remain open, unless local health officials order them closed.
While most schools remain open in the Algoma District, with the exception of two in the Sault Ste. Marie area, the Sudbury and Manitoulin Districts schools will remain closed until at least after the April Break, which begins next Monday.
Education Minister Stephen Lecce says there will be stricter safety protocols in place when students return from the spring break.
Included will be a push to encourage outdoor learning when the weather is nice, a move Lecce says helped them keep schools safe last fall.
However, Ontario’s teachers unions are still calling for a shift to on-line learning until this latest wave of COVID-19 passes.
They also want to see teachers and school staff immunized as soon as possible.
Cancer patients should not delay vaccine
Medical officials who deal with cancer are warning that delaying their patients’ second vaccinations for up to 16 weeks could jeopardize their health.
The Canadian Association of Pharmacy in Oncology says research from the U-K shows people being treated for cancer are significantly less protected from their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine than the general population.
Their immune response also shows much less protection in the three weeks after the inoculation.
The group is calling on the federal advisory committee on immunizations to revise their advice, and insist that cancer patients receive their second dose within three weeks of the first.