A look at local COVID-19 numbers …
Public Health Sudbury & Districts is reporting 18 new cases of COVID-19.
Seventeen are in the Greater Sudbury area while one is in the Sudbury District.
Most of the cases are outbreak-related.
There are now 112 active cases within the agency’s jurisdiction.
As of today, 31 of all active cases are variants.
Health Sciences North has admitted eight patients, but all are awaiting test results.
There are no patients in intensive care.
Algoma Public Health is reporting no new cases.
There are five active cases in the Algoma District with one person hospitalized.
School outbreaks and closures
Public Health Sudbury & Districts is dismissing the entire school community at Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School.
All students, staff, and essential visitors who attend the school are being advised by the agency of the isolation and testing requirements appropriate to their circumstances.
The dismissal of the school is in addition to specific classroom dismissals last week and follows a COVID-19 outbreak declaration at the school on March 2nd.
Another school in Sudbury also has identified a confirmed case of COVID-19.
Collège Notre-Dame in Sudbury has one positive case with the individual in self-isolation while being monitored by Public Health Sudbury & Districts.
The Conseil scolaire catholique Nouvelon board says students and staff associated with the class were dismissed, as well as identified students and staff not linked to a specific class cohort.
No date was provided as to when the staff and students will return to school.
When do you get that second shot?
Health Minister Christine Elliott says a decision by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization will allow more Ontarians to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations more quickly, speeding up protection against the virus.
The committee has approved an interval of 16 weeks between the first and second inoculations of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
While the vaccines haven’t been around long enough to gather four months worth of data, the committee says real-world studies show continuing high levels of protection against the virus from the initial injections.
B-C announced it would extend its interval to four months on Monday.
AstraZeneca for 60 to 64
The provincial government says the capacity is there, to make sure all doses of the new AstraZeneca vaccine are distributed before they expire.
Ontario is receiving almost 200-thousand doses this month, but 114-thousand of them expire on April second.
Solicitor-General Sylvia Jones says they’ll be supplied to Ontarians between the ages of 60 and 64.
Federal health experts continue to recommend the vaccine not be used in people over the age of 65 because there isn’t enough data on its effectiveness in seniors.
But France has changed its mind, and will now use it to inoculate its older citizens.
Pharmacists to deliver vaccines
The Ford government has signed an agreement with Ontario pharmacists to administer COVID-19 vaccinations.
A pilot project will be launched next week in Toronto, Kingston, and Windsor-Essex.
They’ll follow the same framework established for the annual distribution of flu inoculations.
Once the program is up and running, Ontario’s 46-hundred pharmacies can vaccinate up to one-million people a week.
More coronavirus inspectors
The provincial government says 100 new inspectors will be trained and on the job by July, in attempts to crack down on employers violating COVID-19 health and safety rules.
That will bring to more than 500 the number of health and safety staff checking workplaces across the province.
So far, the inspectors have issued more than 94-hundred orders and 373 tickets for violations of provincial coronavirus restrictions.
Refunds from Air Canada
A union representing thousands of airline employees says Air Canada has agreed to refund all passengers whose flights have been cancelled or postponed during the coronavirus pandemic.
Unifor has been pushing for an aid package to help the struggling industry.
But the federal government says airlines must agree to complete cash refunds before they’ll receive any taxpayer funding.
Consumer rights groups estimate that millions of Canadians are still owed refunds for flights they didn’t take.