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Cancellations of elective surgeries at HSN

Health Sciences North in Sudbury is postponing some surgeries until the hospital can return to normal following a COVID-19 outbreak.

Communication officer Jason Turnbull says they continue to monitor an outbreak of COVID-19 on the J and K hallways of the 6th floor of the South Tower following a patient and an HSN staff member testing positive for COVID-19 over the weekend.

There are now two staff members and three patients testing positive for the virus.

The hospital has postponed 55 non-urgent and elective surgeries for this week, but all other clinics and procedures at the hospital continue as normal.

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A look at the local numbers

Public Health Sudbury & Districts is reporting five new cases of COVID-19, all in the Greater Sudbury area.

There are 41 active cases within the agency’s jurisdiction.

Health Sciences North has 13 admitted patients.
Nine have been verified as COVID-19 with three patients in intensive care.

The other four are waiting for testing results.

Algoma Public Health is reporting two new cases, one from Elliot Lake & area and one from Central & East Algoma.

Considering resolved cases, there are 30 active cases in the Algoma District with two people in the hospital.

State of emergency ends, stay at home order stays

Our province’s state of emergency lapses tonight, but the stay at home order will remain in place for much of the province.

Only three health regions in eastern Ontario will see the order lifted as of tomorrow, and they’ll be placed in the green zone, the lowest level of restrictions.

The rest of the province will remain under the stay at home provisions until at least next Tuesday, while it will cover the hard-hit regions of Toronto, York, and Peel until February 22nd.

Over the next three weeks, the province will use the latest COVID-19 case numbers to decide which of the five-level colour-coded restrictions will be applied to each health region.

There will be some loosening of regulations in the most restrictive Grey-Lockdown level.

All retail outlets will be allowed to reopen, but they’ll be limited to 25 percent of normal capacity.

That will include big box stores.

Grocery stores in Grey zones will be limited to 50 percent capacity, but personal care services would remain closed.

Premier Doug Ford says we’re starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel, but he adds immediate action will be taken if there’s a spike in COVID-19 infections.

Any region that sees a sharp increase in cases or in hospitalizations will immediately be placed back under lockdown.

Variants update …

Health Minister Christine Elliott says more-contagious variants of the coronavirus have a firm foothold in Ontario.

While the number of cases and the infection rate are declining, Elliott says the variants first uncovered in the U-K, South Africa, and Brazil poses a significant risk to our province, including areas that currently have low rates of COVID-19.

She says that’s the reason the government is moving slowly with its latest reopening plan.

Health experts predict the U-K variant will be the dominant strain in Ontario next month.

More nursing interest than before …

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a surge in the number of people interested in a career in health care.

The Ontario Universities’ Application Centre reports more than 22-thousand applications were received last month for nursing programs.

That’s more than 17 percent higher than the number received through January of last year.

Possible protest today …

Police in Toronto say they’ll be ready to move in, should any businesses participate in a protest against the provincial lockdown.

A group called “We are all essential” has been promoting Thursday as the day for businesses across the country to defy health restrictions and reopen.

The group claims more than 220-thousand small businesses are at risk, along with three million jobs.

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