Good morning, Greater Sudbury! Here are a few stories to get you started on this Thursday morning.
Back-to-school plan will be released early next week, Ford says
Premier Doug Ford says Ontario's back-to-school plan will be announced early next week. Ford shared the news today during a visit to Thunder Bay, Ont., where he met with local leaders to discuss the ongoing wildfires that have forced thousands from their homes. The premier says the comprehensive back-to-school plan will include making sure schools have proper ventilation. That was one of the recommendations of the province's advisory group of science experts, who also called for schools to remain open in all but the most catastrophic scenarios. Ontario has had the longest interruption to in-person classes in Canada.
Sudbury colleges won’t require vaccination to enter campus or live in residence
The two community colleges located in Greater Sudbury, Cambrian College and Collège Boréal, say they are encouraging vaccination against COVID-19, but won’t require people to get the jab to enter or live on campus. This stance goes counter to policies put in place by several other colleges in the province, which have announced vaccination requirements. Sault College, for example, is requiring anyone living or working in its student residences to be fully vaccinated by Sept. 20. Seneca College in Toronto is requiring all students and employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before they attend campus. For its part, Laurentian University announced last month that it won’t require COVID vaccinations, even for those living on campus. This as the provincial government instructed Ontario colleges and universities to prepare for all in-person classes and activities to resume this fall without capacity limits or physical distancing, although many institutions will still use a mix of in-person and online learning.
Health minister unveils $324M surgical recovery plan to clear pandemic backlog
Anticipating a coming surge in procedures, Ontario today unveiled a $324-million plan to reduce surgical wait times as the health-care system begins to open up. During a press conference this afternoon, Health Minister Christine Elliott and Matthew Anderson, the president and CEO of Ontario Health, provided an update on how the province is working through the current surgical backlog and how it plans to manage an expected surge in postponed medical procedures due to the pandemic. Elliott said the province has worked through 76 per cent of the surgical wait list, covering the period of March 2020 to March 2021. As well, the minister said 99.3 per cent of the most urgent procedures have been completed. “We are in a much better situation than we were months ago,” Elliott said. The backlog of urgent surgeries was being worked on throughout the past year and a half, but as pandemic restrictions relax and the health-care system opens up more, officials are anticipating a surge in referrals for, in particular, preventative screening procedures like mammograms that were postponed due to the pandemic.
Unvaccinated students will follow stricter COVID outbreak rules, Ontario top doc says
Ontario's top doctor says students aged 12 to 17 who aren't vaccinated against COVID-19 will be subject to stricter isolation rules in the event of virus outbreaks this fall. Dr. Kieran Moore says students who are fully vaccinated against the virus will have to take COVID-19 tests if they're in contact with a high-risk person. Students who test negative can go back to school, but those who aren't immunized will be off school for a minimum of 10 days while they wait for test results. Moore says unvaccinated students will have to take a second COVID test after about seven days, and they could be out of class for up to 20 days depending on the result. The province hasn't yet released its complete back-to-school plan and Moore says the details about public health measures are still being finalized. Sixty-four per cent of Ontario youth aged 12 to 17 have one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 42 per cent are fully vaccinated.
Three from Sudbury among four charged for violent robbery
Four people, including three from Sudbury, face numerous charges following a violent home invasion in Sturgeon Falls on July 15. West Nipissing OPP said at around 11 p.m. that night, officers responded to a report of an assault with a weapon in the area of Fort Road and Lalande Road in Sturgeon Falls. Police said the investigation revealed that two people were in the home when three people unknown to them broke in and threatened them with a firearm. “One of the victims escaped and ran to a nearby neighbour for assistance, and police were called,” OPP said. “The culprits fled the scene in a vehicle prior to police arrival.” A short time after, police said they located and stopped the vehicle on Highway 17 near Leblanc Road. The driver and three passengers were arrested. Three people from Sudbury — aged 32, 26 and 18 — were arrested and charged, as well as a 32-year-old man from Hamilton.
Public Health Sudbury reports no new COVID-19 cases July 28, Ontario reports 158
Public Health Sudbury and Districts (PHSD) has reported no new cases of COVID-19 in the local jurisdiction for July 28. The health unit is also reporting there are now seven active cases being monitored. Also, since the PHSD began tracking COVID-19 cases just over 16 months ago, there have been 2,183 total COVID-19 cases confirmed locally. PHSD also said 2,176 of those cases are now resolved. There are also now 999 cases that are "confirmed or presumed to be" for variants of concern; an increase of one since the last testing report on Tuesday. Today's COVID-19 update from Public Health Ontario includes 158 new cases, 171 recoveries and four deaths. There are currently 1,378 active, lab-confirmed cases as of July 28.
Cloudy day with showers and the risk of a thunderstorm
Thursday is expected to be a cloudy day with a risk of a thunderstorm early in the morning. Today’s high is 22 with a humidex of 27. The UV index will be four, or moderate. There’s a 70-per-cent chance of showers early in the morning, changing to a 30-per-cent chance as the morning goes on. Hazy skies are expected throughout the morning and into the early afternoon. Tonight, cloudy conditions will continue, but will become partly cloudy after midnight. The wind will be from the north at 20 km/h, gusting to 40, before becoming light by morning. The overnight low is eight.