A look at the local numbers
Health Sciences North has had a big jump in the number of admitted patients for COVID-19.
The hospital is reporting there are now 49 individuals admitted to the hospital with 21 confirmed with the virus, the rest waiting for test results.
And, of the 49, nine people are in the intensive care unit.
Public Health Sudbury & Districts is reporting a COVID-19 death on Thursday, but are releasing no further details.
The agency is reporting 20 new cases of COVID-19, 19 in Greater Sudbury and one in the Sudbury District.
Considering resolved cases, this brings the total of active cases to 319, the highest it has been since the pandemic started.
Most are believed to be caused by close contact and outbreak-associated.
And Algoma Public Health is reporting one new case in Sault Ste. Marie and area.
The case is attributed to close contact with the individual self-isolating.
Considering resolved cases, there are 18 active cases in the Algoma District with no one in the hospital.
Ontario’s deputy chief medical officer of health says we’re in a precarious position.
Doctor Barbara Yaffe says daily numbers of new COVID-19 cases continue to rise as do hospitalizations and the number of admissions to intensive care.
As well, the more-contagious strains of COVID-19 now make up more than half the new diagnoses across the province.
Even though vaccinations are increasing, Yaffe says we’re not yet at the point where we’re safe from the virus.
The rising numbers have prompted calls from some health experts to tighten restrictions on movement and assembly.
The cabinet will meet today to discuss the issue and any changes in health unit restrictions will be announced later this afternoon.
Teachers don’t want virtual learning to be permanent
Ontario’s Teachers’ unions say plans to make online learning a permanent part of the educational system will lower educational standards in the province, and harm students.
Education Minister Stephen Lecce told Vista National News last week that the “overwhelming” response he’s had from parents is that they like having an online option.
What form that will take is expected will be detailed in the coming weeks.
But the Elementary Teachers Association says on-line learning was meant to be a temporary measure to cope with pandemic lockdowns.
The Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation says the move flies in the face of the government’s position that the most important type of schooling is in-class learning.
Phase two in Sudbury and Manitoulin
Public Health Sudbury & Districts is announcing the move to Phase 2 of the provincial COVID-19 vaccination plan with new COVID-19 vaccine clinic dates and appointment booking details.
In addition to offering vaccine to remaining Phase 1 populations, beginning next week, Public Health will start rolling out Phase 2 by offering vaccine to adults under 80 years of age, individuals with certain health conditions, and people in high-risk congregate living settings.
Public Health Sudbury & Districts is managing its vaccine supply and system capacity.
Note that Public Health is not yet transitioning to the provincial online booking system.
Their current system provides for the flexibility we need to meet local circumstances. Our system is phone-based and although we have increased our phone line capacity, we appreciate callers’ ongoing patience with the expected high call volumes.
As we need to make sure phone lines are available for the people who are currently eligible, individuals must only call if the booking has been announced for your group.
Those who are 78 years of age or older in this calendar year can call as of Friday, March 26, to book their appointment.
Booking will be open for those 75 years of age or older in this calendar year as of Saturday, March 27, 2021. Do not call for this age group until Saturday, March 27.
Additional age groups are expected to be announced next week.