LOCALLY

Local districts are reporting two more positive cases of COVID-19.

Algoma Public Health confirmed last night that a fifth Algoma resident tested positive for the virus.

Communications state it is a man in his 20s who had recently travelled to Mexico and returned to the district on March 18th.

He started showing symptoms on March 20th and was tested on March 23rd.

The man is in self-isolation and close contacts have been identified and notified.

Public Health Sudbury & Districts have reported their 11th case in Sudbury, this one a woman in her thirties who got it from close contact and is now in self-isolation at home.

ALGOMA CASE: March 18, 2020: Cancun, Mexico to Kitchener to Sudbury on WG192 Sunwing Airlines.

Passengers in rows 1-5 and flight crew that may have served these rows are considered close contacts.

PROVINCIALLY

The Ontario government has ordered the closure of all outdoor recreational public spaces, effective immediately.

Playgrounds, sports fields, picnic areas, off-leash dog parks, beaches, outdoor community gardens, and park shelters are now off-limits.

Provincial health officials say too many people are still gathering in these places, increasing the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

Parks and trails will remain open, but walkers must maintain two meters between each other.

Premier Doug Ford is also extending the state of emergency for another two weeks and says he’ll do so again if necessary.

Our province is reporting 351 new diagnoses of COVID-19, the largest daily increase so far.

There have now been just over 17-hundred cases in Ontario, with 431 resolved and 23 deaths.

The jump is partly due to a reduction in the large backlog of test results.

The province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Doctor David Williams, is now recommending that all people over the age of 70 should self-isolate because older people have a greater risk of severe outcomes if they contract the virus.

NATIONWIDE

All businesses, no matter their size, will now be eligible for the federal government’s program to subsidize 75 percent of employee wages.

The program, originally for small- and medium-sized businesses, kicks in once a company loses 30 percent of its revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It will also now be open to charities and non-profit organizations.

But Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warns that any company misusing the subsidy will face “serious consequences.”

There have been more than 74-hundred coronavirus cases reported across the country to date.

Almost 11-hundred people have recovered, 89 have died.

LEAVE MASKS AND GLOVES FOR MEDICAL STAFF

Canada’s chief public health officer wants Canadians to leave the masks and surgical gloves for medical staff.

Doctor Theresa Tam says wearing a mask could actually increase the chances of you catching the coronavirus if used improperly.

Tam says only non-medical staff who need to use masks are people who are sick.

She adds the virus won’t be absorbed through your skin, so gloves won’t protect you either.

The key, Tam says, is to avoid touching your face, where the virus can penetrate the membranes of the eyes, the nose, and the mouth.

She says washing your hands frequently and properly, and maintaining proper physical distancing, are still the best ways to protect yourself.

VIRUS ON A CRUISE SHIP

A cruise ship with hundreds of people on board, including 98 Canadians, is heading for Florida, but there’s no guarantee the vessel will be allowed to dock there.

The “Zandaam” has already been barred from several Latin American ports after dozens of people fell ill.

Four passengers have already died.

Healthy passengers, including 150 Canadians, were transferred to a sister ship, the “Rotterdam,” late last week.

But Florida’s governor says the state shouldn’t be accepting either vessel.

Broward County commissioners will meet today, to decide whether the ships should be allowed into Fort Lauderdale.

GLOBALLY

The number of COVID-19 cases in the United States has now hit 160-thousand, by far the highest number reported by any country.

Close to three-thousand people have died and American experts say the final death toll could be between 100-thousand and 200-thousand, even if current restrictions continue in place.

The number of coronavirus diagnoses, worldwide, stands at about 785-thousand, with around 38-thousand deaths.