Anniversary of COVID-19’s arrival in Canada
It was one year ago today that an Ontario lab confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in Canada.
The patient, at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Hospital, had just returned from a trip to China, where the virus had first emerged a month earlier.
It was then called the “Wuhan novel coronavirus.”
Since then, there have been 747-thousand cases diagnosed across Canada, with more than 19-thousand deaths.
Worldwide, more than 99-million infections have been reported, costing 2.1-million lives.
Here in Ontario, more than 260-thousand people have been infected, with over 58-hundred deaths.
The weekend review in the local area
With the addition of seven new COVID-19 cases in the Greater Sudbury area on Sunday, there has been a total of 35 new cases over the last three days reported by Public Health Sudbury & Districts.
Public Health Sudbury & Districts has also declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Finlandia Village’s apartment building following the report of one case of COVID-19 in a staff member who remains symptom-free.
The Sudbury Catholic District School Board states cases have been detected at two of its schools – Marymount Academy and Pius XII (12th) Catholic Elementary School.
Marymount students in Grade 7B and the Native Language Class has been ordered to self-isolate until next week.
There are now 67 active cases in the Sudbury & Manitoulin Districts.
Health Sciences North says they have nine people admitted for COVID, but none are in the intensive care.
The hospital adds there are currently seven other patients who are being investigated for COVID, one in intensive care, the rest in other units.
Algoma Public Health has reported one new case, related to international travel who is in self-isolation.
With this related case and taking account of resolved cases, the district has 20 active cases.
The health unit has also lifted its directive with high school students allowed to return to in-class learning today.
The variant and the loss in long-term
The death toll from the COVID-19 outbreak at a long-term care home in Barrie has grown to 40 residents, with eight new fatalities announced yesterday.
A care giver at the Roberta Place long-term care home has also died.
Simcoe Muskoka’s medical officer of health, Doctor Charles Gardner, says 127 of the 129 residents have tested positive since the outbreak was declared January 8th.
Gardner believes they’re all suffering from the UK variant, which is much more contagious than that original strain.
About half the staff….86 people in all…have also tested positive.
Gardner adds he’s very concerned that the new strain is going to spread through the community.
The number of close contacts of those who have the virus has jumped to more than 40.
It’s back to school across most of Ontario
More than 100-thousand students are being allowed to return to in-person classes today in seven regions across the province.
But schoolchildren in the most populous areas…..the greater Toronto and Hamilton regions, Windsor-Essex, and Ottawa, will continue remote learning for at least the next two weeks.
Returning students from Grade One and up will have to wear face masks.
Teachers’ unions aren’t happy.
The president of the Elementary Teachers Federation, Sam Hammond, says it doesn’t make sense to send kids back into the classroom when the province is locked down.
First Nations will receive vaccine via the military
The federal government is sending in members of the Canadian Armed Forces to help distribute vaccines to First Nations communities in northern Ontario.
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says the military will support vaccination campaigns in 32 communities of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, which stretches across most of the region.
Possible enaction of the Emergencies Act
Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau says the government isn’t ruling out imposing the Emergencies Act to limit travel in Canada.
Garneau tells the CBC that they’re open to all measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 if voluntary restrictions don’t work…..but adds implementing the Act would be a move of last resort.
The Emergencies Act replaced the War Measures Act in 1988.
It gives the federal cabinet wide powers to limit or prohibit travel anywhere in Canada, to protect health and safety.
On Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government will have more to say about travel in Canada, in the coming days.