The city’s top doc spoke to Greater Sudbury city council on Nov. 10, exactly eight months to the day since the city’s first positive case of COVID-19.
Fast forward to Tuesday evening, the health unit had confirmed five more cases, including a pair of outbreaks bringing the total number of cases since March 10 to 186.
“Almost one-third of all of our local cases have been reported in the last week alone,” said Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, chief medical officer of health, Public Health Sudbury and Districts. “So we are very suddenly thrust into the second wave of COVID-19 locally.”
Statistics presented by Sutcliffe showed a sharp spike in test positivity, with a rate of 1.3 per cent and a case rate of 26 per 100,000 people.
“In the previous seven days we were seeing a rate of about one per 100,000,” said Sutcliffe. “The tip of the iceberg is the cases and underneath the iceberg is all the additional work around contacts and careful followup and investigation. We are seeing about 12 contacts per case, some are more some are less but on an average (of 12).”
Highlighted by Sutcliffe on Tuesday was the age groups where cases seem to be becoming more frequent, as the health unit has seen more frequent cases among people in their 20s.
“We’re seeing more younger people, people in their 20s, and this is maybe not unexpected or unusual, this has been seen in other parts of the province that hit this part of the wave sooner than we did,” said Sutcliffe. “It really speaks to, I think, the need for young people to be social and to have connections, but also to make sure that they’re aware of how to do that in a way that is safe.”
The city’s top doctor stressed the importance of following public health direction in order to limit community spread of the virus, and while she didn’t recommend more strict enforcement at the municipal level, Sutcliffe cautioned that a lockdown could be necessary if the case numbers continue to climb.
“Really there’s no one incident or smoking gun, but multiple incidents that arguably are preventable,” said Sutcliffe. “Not preventable by high tech or really restrictive measures, but really preventable by very simple precautions that we’ve been talking about for the last eight months and that we’ve been practicing. Not a big lockdown, but of course that could be necessary if we don’t get this better under control.”
Ward 7 coun. Mike Jakubo raised the question of what level of enforcement does the health unit hold, should it be found that people who have been told to self-isolate due to a possible contact with COVID-19 choose not to do so.
“Is the health unit issuing an order to self-isolate and if so, how enforceable is that and how is that being followed up on?” asked Jakubo.
Sutcliffe said that there has been a tremendous level of cooperation when speaking with contacts and those who come in for COVID tests.
“People who we contact are forthcoming, they comply if we ask them to self-isolate, to get tested, share with us their contact information. We have not had a need to resort to what would be an order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, but make no mistake I would not hesitate to do that if necessary to protect the health of our community,” said Sutcliffe.
Jakubo questioned if enough was being done to get the messaging out to Greater Sudbury youth and educating them on how to prevent and protect themselves from the spread of COVID-19.
Sutcliffe was blunt in stating that not enough was being done at this time and that the health unit is currently working to improve their communication with Greater Sudbury youth.
“Are we doing everything we can? We are not and we need to do more; having said that we have done a lot through our social media, a lot through our work with schools, we have additional provincal and federally-funded public health nurses in schools and they’re working closely on messaging,” said Sutcliffe.
“We are in the midst and nearing the end of development of a program aimed at post-secondary and secondary aged youth and although there will be an aspect of it that is fear-based, it’s factual-based in terms of relaying what the risks and the fears are because this is not only seriously impacting the health of older populations but can also have a very serious and sometimes deadly impact on younger populations.”
One of the key messages from the program being developed by PHSD however, is strength-based and informing youth of what is in their control when it comes to the fight against COVID-19.
“Don’t just tell them what not to do, but tell them how to do things in a way that will reduce their risk,” said Sutcliffe. “It’s not telling them not to do stuff, but if they are going to do something, here are key strategies that they can use.”
Those strategies and more are among the myriad of talking points that are circulating the table at the Community Control Group (CCG) that was established in January and has been meeting regularly throughout the course of the pandemic.
The CCG, which includes Mayor Brian Bigger and leaders from the city, Health Sciences North, Public Health Sudbury & Districts, and the Greater Sudbury Police Service, reviews the local status of the virus, assesses response and takes action. Their role is to establish coordinated emergency action plans in Greater Sudbury.
For the past several months, the CCG has used scenario planning to develop a pandemic response strategy for the fall/winter. To develop the plan, the team used each of the three scenarios established by the Public Health Agency of Canada and the World Health Organization:
- Peaks and valleys: continuous waves throughout 2020 and 2021, with clusters of COVID cases in places like schools and workplaces.
- Fall peak: a large wave in the fall or winter followed by successive waves.
- Slow burn: ongoing spread of the virus through periodic cases, with no specific pattern.
The CCG determined objectives and key areas of focus for the four agencies, which will be used to monitor and act on these potential virus scenarios throughout the fall and winter. The objectives for fall/winter include:
- Hospital and long-term care capacity
- Community strategies for health, wellness and equity
- Human resources support
- Critical services at City, hospital, Public Health and police
- Supply chains and PPE
- Economy preservation and recovery
- Public order and safety
- Governance and finance
“Close cooperation and awareness continue to be needed as winter approaches and the risk of COVID remains in our community,” said Ed Archer, Chief Administrative Officer, City of Greater Sudbury
“We are in an emergency situation that continues to evolve. I thank city staff and our community partners for their ongoing commitment to responding thoughtfully, and keeping the health and safety of our community top of mind.”
The areas of focus for fall/winter include:
- Testing, resources to perform effective contact tracing and clearing people to return to work and school
- Keep people healthy and at work
- Provide community supports
- Increase uptake of flu vaccine
- Provide protection in long-term care
- Monitor supply chains
- Plan for other potential emergencies
“Early in this pandemic, we recognized the importance of having a coordinated, city-wide response guided by the experts at Public Health. That collaboration, paired with our community’s commitment to following public health advice, helped us make it through the first wave with relatively low case numbers and manageable hospitalization rates,” said Joseph Nicholls, General Manager of Community Safety, City of Greater Sudbury.
“As the case numbers hit record highs, we need to go back to following those simple rules. They will keep us going for the long haul.”
Some Ottawa Public Health programs slowly returning – CBC.ca
Ottawa Public Health (OPH) has begun ramping up some community programs that were suspended at the start of the pandemic, but the city’s medical officer of health said not all will return to their pre-COVID-19 selves.
The pandemic didn’t just throw OPH’s budget into disarray but also how it offered many of its services, including chronic disease prevention work.
“These kinds of teams are completely redeployed to the COVID-19 response,” said Dr. Vera Etches, the city’s medical officer of health, on Monday.
OPH also had to shutter its four dental clinics across the city that offered services to people who had difficulties paying for care elsewhere.
The St. Laurent Boulevard clinic reopened for emergency services last week, while the Wabano Centre clinic should reopen part time on Thursday, Etches said.
Those clinics together saw 140 clients a day before the pandemic hit, said OPH’s director of health promotion and chief nursing officer Esther Moghadam, and the hope is to get the other two open so vulnerable populations have easier access to one nearby.
While the clinics were closed, Moghadam said dentists across the community stepped up to help and will likely have to continue to do so until the clinics are at full capacity.
“It’s still very early … There is going to be a need that we won’t be able to address fully,” she said.
Another program that fell by the wayside was the Healthy Growth and Development Program, which Etches said is currently running at 50 per cent capacity.
Its breastfeeding support work is moving online or having mothers come to OPH or other community partners instead of nurses visiting them in their homes.
Not all programs are set to return to the way they once were.
“We’re looking to learn from the new tools we have, the innovative approaches that can be built upon and the partnerships that we have grown to extend some of this work into the future,” said Etches.
That future shift includes those services tailored at chronic diseases, which she said will change because private companies have been stepping up to help protect and promote employee health.
COVID-19 in 2021
Ottawa’s Board of Health unanimously passed its largest budget ever at its meeting Monday night, with $24 million of its $98.1 million budget for 2021 expected to cover a number of one-time COVID-19 expenses.
Even with positive vaccine updates, Etches said next year’s budget forecasts a similar amount of COVID-19 cases, outbreaks, follow-up and communication work in 2021 as exists now.
It is also expecting to help provide that COVID-19 vaccine to Ottawa residents “which we are hopeful, initially, will protect against hospitalizations and deaths in the people most at risk,” she said.
“That would be excellent.”
The budget will go to city council for final approval on Dec. 9.
Parents welcome asymptomatic COVID-19 tests in schools, even if the news isn't always good – CBC.ca
It’s been a bit of a roller-coaster weekend for Toronto father Yaser Nadaf, after Ontario’s new asymptomatic testing for schools in COVID-19 hot spots turned up 19 new positive cases at his children’s school.
While his daughter and her Grade 3 class were cleared to return to school on Monday, his son’s Grade 2 class must self-isolate for 14 days, even though the youngster himself was among those who tested negative.
The weekend’s testing blitz at Thorncliffe Park Public School — the first Toronto District School Board (TDSB) location selected for the voluntary testing pilot announced last week — saw 14 classes affected and sent home for two weeks. However, the rest of the school will remain open, according to direction from Toronto Public Health.
Nadaf is rolling with it, saying he believes teachers and staff have been trying their best to maintain health and safety precautions and protocols.
“What can we do? This is going on everywhere in the world,” he said. “They try their best, but at the same time they cannot prevent it completely.”
Testing asymptomatic students and staff is currently being offered at designated schools in Toronto, Peel and York regions and Ottawa — four Ontario regions with a high number of active COVID-19 cases.
The goal is to improve tracking of the coronavirus and prevent transmission within schools, as well as to inform future public health decisions. While parents and health experts seem to be applauding the pilot, some are also highlighting shortcomings in how it’s being rolled out.
Over the weekend, testing also began in Ottawa at Manordale Public School, part of the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board. Amber Mammoletti, an occasional teacher working at two schools this fall, dropped by on Sunday to be tested with her son, Flynn.
“I think there’s people walking around not realizing they have it — no symptoms — so it’s just better to keep everyone safe: Get tested if you can and see what happens,” she said.
WATCH | How testing helped Cornell University become a model of COVID-19 prevention:
School boards are working with local public health authorities to determine which schools to target over the next four weeks, but the expectation is that new positives will undoubtedly emerge, TDSB spokesperson Ryan Bird said.
“The 19 cases we’ve learned about over the weekend [at Thorncliffe Park PS] as a result of the testing is a concern, but it’s not unexpected,” he said Monday.
“While this information is concerning, it really is the information that our public health officials need to know, because it gives them a better snapshot of how many of those asymptomatic people are positive cases of COVID.”
Despite the batch of positive cases arising from this first weekend, Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce reiterated his assertion that “99.9 per cent of Ontario students are COVID-free” during a press briefing on Monday afternoon.
Acknowledging that “we still have work to do” in tracking COVID-19 cases in communities, he characterized the new testing initiative as an extension of the existing safety measures his ministry had announced.
“The fact that hundreds of children, students and staff have gotten tested [at Thorncliffe Park PS] in conjunction with the local public health unit I think underscores that the plan in place is … working hard to mitigate any further spread: identifying COVID cases, isolating them or moving them from the school, so we don’t have spreaders within the school.”
‘Canaries in the coal mine’
A targeted campaign of testing in schools — which in most neighbourhoods are considered trusted, known places — is a welcome tool that adds to the barometer of what’s happening in the communities they’re located in, said Dr. Zain Chagla, an infectious diseases physician and assistant professor at McMaster University in Hamilton.
“Parents who may not be encouraged to go get tested in their local communities will readily take their kids to the school, which is a place they know,” he said.
“Things like this are going to be canaries in the coal mine. You kind of get a better sense of what’s happening in the community by doing these local testing strategies.”
He added the caveat, however, that the type of test being used will likely cause more chaos for families and schools.
For the pilot, Ontario is using PCR testing, which detects the genetic material of a virus. Although considered the gold standard, it’s also so sensitive it would “pick up kids who are infectious, as well as kids who were infectious two, four, six weeks ago,” Chagla said.
He suggested that they could have chosen rapid antigen tests, which flag active infections by identifying proteins on the surface of infectious virus particles.
The rapid antigen tests may offer a more precise picture “of who is really a threat to the community versus who had COVID six weeks ago, where they’re not really a threat,” Chagla said.
WATCH | Nova Scotia offers rapid COVID-19 tests in Halifax for asymptomatic cases:
Though Toronto parent Jessica Lyons welcomes the introduction of asymptomatic testing, she said it comes months late and should be offered more widely.
“This is desperately needed,” said the mother of two school-aged children and an organizer with the Ontario Parent Action Network.
“Much more testing in schools — to make it accessible, to make it easy for parents and families and students to do — is really essential. So we support this pilot, obviously, but we think that it should have come … weeks and weeks ago, and it needs to be expanded.”
Back in Thorncliffe Park, among the Toronto communities hardest hit by COVID-19 this year, parents in the neighbourhood expressed concern about the new positive cases found through the testing initiative. But they’re also adamant about one thing: their schools staying open.
Remote learning last spring was “really hard for kids. We’ve seen the mental stress on our child and other kids,” said Osamah Aldhad, father of a second grader who he said really missed being at school.
“When we were kids, you know, we used to run away from school,” Aldhad noted.
“Now they’re actually really wanting to go to school, which is really important for them.”
COVID-19 in Ottawa: Fast Facts for Dec. 1, 2020 – CTV Edmonton
Good morning. Here is the latest news on COVID-19 and its impact on Ottawa.
- The number of new COVID-19 cases in Ottawa fell on Monday but data suggest viral transmission is increasing.
- Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he wants a clear date for when Ontario will be getting COVID-19 vaccines.
- The Ontario government is offering parents of schoolchildren another one-time payment to cover COVID-19 expenses.
- The federal deficit is on track to exceed $381 billion as spending increases during the second wave of the pandemic.
COVID-19 by the numbers in Ottawa:
- New cases: 29 on Monday
- Total COVID-19: 8,487
- COVID-19 cases per 100,000 (previous seven days): 27.2
- Positivity rate in Ottawa: 1.3 per cent (Nov. 21 to 27)
Who should get a test?
Ottawa Public Health says there are four reasons to seek testing for COVID-19:
- You are showing COVID-19 symptoms. OR
- You have been exposed to a confirmed case of the virus, as informed by Ottawa Public Health or exposure notification through the COVID Alert app. OR
- You are a resident or work in a setting that has a COVID-19 outbreak, as identified and informed by Ottawa Public Health. OR
- You are eligible for testing as part of a targeted testing initiative directed by the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Long-Term Care.
Where to get tested for COVID-19 in Ottawa:
The COVID-19 Assessment Centre at 151 Brewer Way is open seven days a week. Appointments are required in most cases but LIMITED walk-up capacity is available.
To book a test for an adult, click here.
The CHEO Assessment Centre at Brewer Arena – 151 Brewer Way is open seven days a week. Testing is available by appointment only.
To book a test for a child under the age of 18, click here.
The COVID-19 Care and Testing Centre at 595 Moodie Dr. is open from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday to Friday. The centre offers an appointment with a physician (including appropriate tests) for residents who are experiencing more significant symptoms like fever, difficulty breathing or a sore throat, or testing only for residents with mild symptoms or others who qualify for testing under current guidelines.
To book an appointment, click here.
The COVID-19 Care and Testing Centre at 1485 Heron Rd. is open from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday to Friday. The centre offers an appointment with a physician (including appropriate tests) for residents who are experiencing more significant symptoms like fever, difficulty breathing or a sore throat, or testing only for residents with mild symptoms or others who qualify for testing under current guidelines.
To book an appointment, click here.
The COVID-19 Care and Testing Centre at the Ray Friel Recreation Complex – 1585 Tenth Line Rd. is open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. It offers an appointment with a physician (including appropriate tests) for residents who are experiencing more significant symptoms like fever, difficulty breathing or a sore throat, or testing only for residents with mild symptoms or others who qualify for testing under current guidelines.
To book an appointment, click here.
The COVID-19 drive-thru assessment centre at the National Arts Centre. The centre is open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
To book an appointment, click here.
The COVID-19 Assessment Centre at the McNabb Community Centre, located at 180 Percy Street, is open Monday to Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
To book an appointment, click here.
The Centretown Community Health Centre at 420 Cooper St. offers COVID-19 testing from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. To book an appointment, call 613-789-1500 or book an appointment online.
The Sandy Hill Community Health Centre at 221 Nelson St. offers COVID-19 testing from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday to Friday. Click here to book an appointment or call 613-789-1500
The Somerset Community Health Centre at 55 Eccles St. will offer COVID-19 testing from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Friday. To book an appointment, call 613-789-1500 or book an appointment online.
COVID-19 screening tool:
The COVID-19 screening tool for students heading back to in-person classes can be found here.
Classic Symptoms: fever, new or worsening cough, shortness of breath
Other symptoms: sore throat, difficulty swallow, new loss of taste or smell, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, pneumonia, new or unexplained runny nose or nasal congestion
Less common symptoms: unexplained fatigue, muscle aches, headache, delirium, chills, red/inflamed eyes, croup
Ottawa Public Health said Monday that 29 additional people in the city tested positive for COVID-19, marking a decline from the 79 new cases that were reported on Sunday.
However, data also suggest that viral transmission in Ottawa is on the rise.
The R(t) number — that is, the number of additional people an indivudual who has tested positive spreads the virus to — has increased to an estimated average of 1.18 as of Nov. 29. A week ago, on Nov. 22, the estimated R(t) number was 0.84.
“R(t) values greater than 1 indicate the virus is spreading faster and each case infects more than one contact, and less than 1 indicates the spread is slowing and the epidemic is coming under control,” OPH says.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he wants to know exactly when COVID-19 vaccines will be going into Ontarians’ arms.
Speaking to reporters at an event in Vaughan, Ont. on Monday, the premier said he is no more comfortable about the timeline for immunizations in the province now than he was last week.
“I have to get answers. I’ve been asking the federal government. We need to know when we’re getting it, how much we’re getting and what we’re getting,” Ford said. “There’s different vaccines out there so, to be perfectly frank, I’m not any more comfortable than I was last week.”
For said he spoke to staff at Pfizer and AstraZeneca on Monday.
Ontario parents can now apply for their second COVID-19 payment from the provincial government.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford made the announcement during a news conference on Monday, saying the funds aim to help parents struggling due to additional learning and child-care costs amid the pandemic.
Parents of children aged 12 or younger will be able to receive a one-time payment of $200 per child, and $250 for children 21 years of age or younger with special education needs.
Applications can be made online at https://www.ontario.ca/page/get-support-learners
The federal government is unveiling a new round of financial supports to respond to the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada, as the latest projections show the national deficit is projected to hit a new high: at least $381.6 billion this fiscal year.
The deficit is growing for several reasons: ongoing pandemic supports, $25.1 billion in newly-announced programs aimed at getting badly-hit businesses through the next few months, as well as the early allocations being made to help rebuild the economy once the urgent health crisis passes. The Liberals are also making moves towards boosting transfer payments to the provinces.
That federal deficit projection is considered Canada’s best-case scenario, and is up from the $343.2 billion forecast in July. However, should the pandemic situation continue to worsen and the country experiences extended restrictions, the deficit could hit $388.8 billion in 2020-21, or balloon to $398.7 billion if restrictions are escalated.
With files from CTV News Toronto’s Miriam Katawazi and CTV’s Ottawa News Bureau Online Producer Rachel Aiello.
The best Cyber Week deals on headphones, video games, and more – The Verge
Alphabet"s UK subsidiary DeepMind makes breakthrough protein shape discovery – Proactive Investors USA & Canada
Guardian Capital Group Donates Canadian Art Collection to the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen’s University, Establishes Guardian Capital Indigenous Art Fund and Indigenous Student Awards – Yahoo Finance
Silver investment demand jumped 12% in 2019
Iran anticipates renewed protests amid social media shutdown
Galaxy M31 July 2020 security update brings Glance, a content-driven lockscreen wallpaper service
Economy5 hours ago
Statistics Canada to say today how country's economy fared in third quarter of 2020 – Humboldt Journal
Art18 hours ago
Hariri Pontarini To Design Art Gallery of York University – Urban Toronto
Economy6 hours ago
Statistics Canada to say today how country's economy fared in third quarter of 2020 – CKPGToday.ca
Sports16 hours ago
Current and former Lions players rejoice over Matt Patricia's firing on social media – Yahoo
Politics23 hours ago
Shelburne Councillor shares his journey into politics – Toronto Star
Health19 hours ago
Ontario parents can now apply for second COVID-19 payout. Here's how – CTV Toronto
Tech18 hours ago
Cyber Monday gaming deals 2020: time's running out on these massive savings – Gamesradar
Art20 hours ago
Province puts up $100K to get more art into public places on P.E.I. – CBC.ca