Elliot Lake doctor strongly urges COVID-19 protocols

With the recent outbreak of COVID-19 at an apartment building in Elliot Lake, a local doctor is strongly encouraging the public to continue following COVID-19 protocols.

Dr. Cathy Groh of the Elliot Lake Family Health Team says the cluster of nine people who tested positive for COVID at Warsaw since January highlights the concern about the spread of this disease through multi-residential buildings, especially in Elliot Lake with its senior population.

She says Algoma Public Health has asked for testing of people living in multi-residential buildings on Warsaw, Washington, Mississauga and Pine Road, and that is currently underway.

People living in the buildings should take care to follow the advice of public health: ensure social distancing, mask-wearing and hand-sanitizing.

She stresses it is important that masks fit well and be worn properly, and people at high risk could consider wearing medical masks if these are available.

Eye protection such as a face shield offers additional protection in confined spaces such as elevators, she adds.

The health team and the health unit continue to monitor the situation.

A look at the local numbers …

Algoma Public Health is reporting one new case of COVID-19 from Central and East Algoma.

The case is due to close contact and the individual is in self-isolation.

Considering resolved cases, there are seven active cases with two individuals in the hospital

Public Health Sudbury & Districts is reporting two new cases, both in Greater Sudbury.

The two are due to close contact and both are self-isolating.

Considering resolved cases, there are 24 active cases in the agency’s jurisdiction.

Health Sciences North is reporting they have ten admitted patients, six of which have been verified as COVID-19.

Of the six, one is in intensive care.

The other four are awaiting test results.

The variants are spreading …

Canada’s chief medical health officer says our efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19 have been working.

But Doctor Theresa Tam says the presence of more-contagious variants of the coronavirus put us at a critical juncture in the battle.

Tam says COVID-19 activity continues to fall, and vaccination programs are ramping up.

But she adds the mounting number of cases of the variants means we have to continue following public health restrictions to protect ourselves and each other.

Tam also notes that the coronavirus has had a higher impact on racialized and indigenous communities across Canada.

Tough calls for schools …

Tougher coronavirus screening rules are now in effect for parents of schoolchildren across Ontario.

Starting today, parents who find even one symptom in their child must keep them at home….and all members of the same household must stay home as well, until a negative COVID-19 test result is received.

Provincial health officials say the stricter guidelines come as the number of cases involving coronavirus variants continues to rise in the province.

So far, there have been 401 diagnoses of the “variants of concern” in Ontario.

The vast majority have been of the B 1-1-7 variant, first discovered in the U-K.

Travel and the virus …

New rules for international air travellers come into effect today.

All those arriving in Canada by plane will be subject to a COVID-19 test….and will have to pay for up to three days in a government-approved quarantine hotel until their test results come back.

If they test negative, they’ll be allowed to finish their 14-day quarantine at home.

But if they’re positive, they’ll have to remain in the hotel until their two weeks are up.

The federal government has said the cost, including meals and security, could top two-thousand dollars for the three days.

But actual rates being charged by the hotels are much lower.

Masks will be around for a while …

The top infectious disease expert in the United States says Americans will probably have to wear face masks into next year to finally quell the COVID-19 pandemic.

Doctor Anthony Fauci says, with vaccination programs now underway, a mostly-normal life could be back in place by the end of this year.

But he adds that the coronavirus could still be spread until children under 16 are inoculated…and that’s not expected to happen before early in 2022.