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Worsening COVID picture demands ‘smart choices’: Mayor – Community Press

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Greater Sudbury Mayor Brian Bigger participates in the Sgt. Frederick Davidson memorial bridge dedication ceremony on Wanup Pit Road near Highway 69 South on Sept. 24.

John Lappa

Sudburians must “act now” to slow an alarming spike of COVID in the community, says the city’s mayor.

“Let’s pull back on going out,” urged Brian Bigger in a statement issued Sunday. “When we do go out — make it for a good reason and mask up.”

While the province has previously said that indoor get-togethers of up to 10 people are acceptable, a recent explosion of cases in Sudbury means residents have to make more sacrifices in terms of socializing.

“Minimize interactions with people who don’t live in your house to one or two persons who are essential to maintaining physical and mental health (e.g. caregivers, social supports to someone who lives alone),” said the mayor, repeating advice from public health.

“This means you should avoid in-person social interactions with friends, with co-workers when not at work, and with extended family. When dining at restaurants, going to the movies, or partaking in other social activities, you should limit it to your household members.”

After experiencing relatively few cases over the summer and early fall, the Sudbury area has seen a dramatic increase in infections, with 80 new cases announced over the past two weeks.

Of those, 73 occurred among residents of the city itself, with the remainder in communities outside Sudbury that are covered by Public Health Sudbury and Districts.

As a result, Greater Sudbury was pushed up into a new category of concern, as colour-coded by the province. 

“As we have learned from the medical officer of health, Greater Sudbury has been moved into ‘Yellow – Protect’ as our case load has increased dramatically over the last week,” said Bigger.

“It is imperative that we all follow this direction from the experts in public health. As we have all seen on the news, the projections for the spread of a second wave are very real and very much cause for worry.”

When COVID-19 first appeared in the community in March, “we all collectively sacrificed to ensure we kept our seniors, children and the medically vulnerable as safe as possible,” said the mayor.

With a second wave now upon us, the community needs take immediate steps to “get ahead of any possible increased transmission,” said Bigger.

The mayor echoed an appeal from the health unit to heed the following advice: 

■ Limit travel outside the home to the following:

• Attending school or work. Work from home if possible.

• Essential trips for groceries, medication, and medical appointments.

■ Limit in-person social interactions to people within your household. 

■ Minimize interactions with people who don’t live in your house and one or two persons who are essential to maintaining physical and mental health (e.g. caregivers, social supports to someone who lives alone). This means you should avoid in-person social interactions with friends, with co-workers when not at work, and with extended family. When dining at restaurants, going to the movies, or partaking in other social activities, you should limit it to your household members.

■ Stay home if you have any symptoms of illness, however mild. While it is cold season now and many of us are used to mild infections at this time of year, a mild illness could be COVID-19 and may be much more severe for someone else who might catch it from us. Complete the Ministry of Health COVID-19 self-assessment tool or contact a local testing and assessment centre to determine if you should be tested for COIVD-19. By staying home if sick, we protect everyone else in our community.

■ Wear a face covering if you need to be closer than two (2) metres from someone outside your home during essential trips. Being in close contact with people presents the greatest risk of transmitting COVID-19, along with being in closed or crowded spaces. In Ontario, you must use a face covering (Government of Ontario) in public indoor spaces and whenever physical distancing is a challenge unless there is an exemption.

■ Wash or sanitize your hands often, cough or sneeze into your sleeve.

■ Limit exercise and recreation to outdoor spaces where physical distancing is possible.

■ Avoid travel outside of our area, especially to areas with high numbers of COVID-19 cases, unless for emergencies or urgent medical appointments.

“It will be ultimately up to each of us how this virus spreads,” said Bigger. “I have aging parents and young grandchildren — both who I am hoping to somehow see this Christmas. I am sure this is a situation most of us find ourselves in.”

The current COVID picture necessitates rethinking, the mayor said. “Reschedule that dinner with friends,” he suggested. “Take a jog by yourself instead of heading to the gym. If you feel sick — don’t go to school or work. Little things can add up — and I know we can do this.”

The community has proven in the past to be “strong, resilient and adaptable,” he said. “We showed our resolve in the spring and our summer was nearly COVID-free. We set the example for other communities in Canada to follow.”

Sudbury now has to “get back” to that place.

“We have a lot to look forward to, but we all need to be positive, make smart choices and choose the right path to get there,” he said. “Be safe and be smart, Greater Sudbury.”

sud.editorial@sunmedia.ca

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Several care homes in B.C. Interior battling COVID-19 outbreaks amid region's case surge – CTV News Vancouver

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VANCOUVER —
The surging COVID-19 case numbers in B.C.’s Interior Health region appear to be spilling over into long-term care homes.

Three new outbreaks have been declared in local long-term care facilities since Monday, according to the Interior Health website.

Two of the homes – Cottonwoods Care Centre and Brookhaven Care Centre – are in Kelowna, where increasing COVID-19 transmission recently prompted a renewed indoor mask mandate for the Central Okanagan.

The other outbreak was declared at Kootenay Street Village in Cranbrook. A fourth outbreak discovered last month at Nelson Jubilee Manor, another long-term care facility in the region, remains active.

Details on the number of cases confirmed at each facility are not available on the Interior Health website. CTV News has reached out to the health authority for more information, including on how COVID-19 might have been introduced into the homes and whether the concerning Delta variant has been detected at any of them.

As recently as July 18, B.C. health officials were celebrating more than a week without a single outbreak at a long-term care home or assisted living facility anywhere in the province.

Case numbers have been surging since then, particularly in the Interior Health region, which accounts for 945 of B.C.’s 1,764 active coronavirus cases.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Tuesday that the “vast majority” of recent cases involve people who have not been immunized against the disease.

Some families with loved ones in long-term care have expressed concerns at the lack of transparency around staff vaccination rates. The B.C. Care Providers Association recently said there are some facilities where only 70 per cent of employees are vaccinated – well below the province-wide immunization rate for eligible residents – but the government has repeatedly declined to provide site-specific numbers to the public.

There have also been calls for mandatory vaccinations of care home workers who work with vulnerable residents, including from seniors advocate Isobel Mackenzie.

Henry has said B.C. will not require care home employees to get immunized against COVID-19, but that those who don’t get vaccinated will be required to keep wearing masks at work and submitting to regular testing.

She also recently alluded to possible “consequences” for those who continue refusing the vaccine.

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COVID-19: Delta variant driving fourth wave in B.C. – Flipboard

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Alberta Has Essentially Decided the Pandemic Is Over

VICE – Brennan Doherty • 16h

Alberta will soon have some of the loosest COVID-19 public health restrictions in North America. Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 in Alberta will no longer be required to isolate for at least 10…

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Northern Health Region adds 13 new cases, three new outbreaks in Interior Health – Energeticcity.ca

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Out of 7,875 total cases in the region, 7,664 have recovered.

There were 1,116 vaccine doses given since Tuesday, bringing the total number of doses given to 301,931. Of those, 133,664 are second doses.

Provincial COVID-19 data

The province added 342 new cases Wednesday, bringing the active case count to 1,764.

There are 55 people in hospital, 23 of whom are in critical care.

There were no deaths across B.C. Wednesday, keeping the total at 1,772.

Out of 150,973 total cases, 147,409 have since recovered.

There were 24,495 vaccine doses given since Tuesday, bringing the total number of doses given to 6,931,815. Of those, 3,148,473 are second doses.

Three new outbreaks in Interior Health Region

Since Monday, three new outbreaks have been declared in long-term care facilities according to the Interior Health website.

Two homes are in Kelowna, where a surge in cases led to the return of mask mandates. The other outbreak is in Cranbrook.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Tuesday that the vast majority of cases recorded recently are in people who haven’t received a single dose of the vaccine.

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