The COVID REPORT for Tuesday, March 2, 2021

A look at the local COVID-19 numbers in Sudbury, Manitoulin, Espanola districts

Public Health Sudbury & Districts is reporting 32 new cases of COVID-19 with 31 in the Greater Sudbury area, and one in the Sudbury District.

Five are confirmed as outbreak related, one due to a close contact with tests results pending for the rest.

Considering resolved cases, there are now 85 active cases within the health agency’s jurisdiction.

Health Sciences North has six people admitted for COVID-19 with three testing positive for the virus and three others waiting for test results.

One of the patients waiting for results is in the intensive care unit.

The Algoma Health Unit is reporting one death due to COVID-19 in Elliot Lake.

Considering resolved cases, there are five active cases in the district with one person hospitalized.


A second death due to COVID-19 in Elliot Lake

St. Joseph’s General Hospital in Elliot Lake is reporting the city’s second COVID-19 related death.

It is the fourth coronavirus related death in the Algoma region.

Hospital CEO Jeremy Stevenson says a patient previously treated at the hospital with confirmed COVID-19 passed away yesterday.
He extends condolences to the family and no further details will be released.

The North Shore Health Network is also reporting a Blind River staff member acquired their COVID-19 infection through exposure outside of the work setting.

The staff member is currently in self-isolation and all known close contacts have been notified.


Possible deliberate delay in second doses of vaccines

The provincial government is considering whether to delay second doses of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for 16 weeks, far longer than the original instructions from the manufacturers.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says there’s growing evidence that leaving a 112-day gap between the first and second inoculations doesn’t affect the protection offered by the vaccines.

She cites British Columbia as an example, which announced the increased interval yesterday.

Elliott says the delay would also allow health officials to get more people through the first round of inoculations much more quickly.


AstraZeneca may not be best vaccine for seniors

An expert panel is recommending limits on the use of the newly-approved AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

The company’s product was approved for use in Canada last Friday and the first supplies could begin arriving as early as tomorrow.

But the National Advisory Council on Immunization says it shouldn’t be used on people 65 years of age and older.

The panel is concerned there’s not enough evidence of its effectiveness in seniors, echoing a position taken by the French government.

It’s recommending that older people be prioritized to receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines instead.


Horwath critical of Fullerton not coming forward sooner

NDP leader Andrea Horwath says Long-Term Care minister Merrilee Fullerton should have spoken out sooner over her fears that COVID-19 would ravage Ontario’s long-term care homes.

In testimony before the provincial commission of inquiry, released yesterday, Fullerton said she pushed for earlier lockdowns and the compulsory use of face masks long before the government approved such moves.

She said her role as a family doctor gave her insights into the problems the homes could face but she didn’t speak out because she wasn’t a public health expert.

Horwath says if Fullerton had gone public she could have saved lives.

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