Good morning, Greater Sudbury! Here are a few stories to get you started on this Tuesday morning.
‘Freedom’ rally at HSN rails against vaccine mandates, passports
Another protest rally against the idea of vaccine mandates and vaccine passports was held in Sudbury on Monday afternoon. Posters for the event urged Canadians to “Stand together again for informed consent and medical freedom.” Similar protests were held in Toronto, London, Barrie and Ottawa, as well as in other major cities across Canada. The Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) has already expressed concern about the protest and the fact that other protests held earlier this month have resulted in harassment toward patients and other health-care workers seeking access to health-care venues. Both Liberal leader Justin Trudeau and NDP leader Jagmeet Singh issued statements condemning the targeting of health-care facilities by protesters, with Trudeau vowing that a re-elected Liberal government would enact legislation that would, among other provisions, make it illegal for protesters to block access to health-care services.
Small number of local JK-12 students still taking part in virtual learning
Kids across Ontario headed back to their schools last week for the first time since all learning was moved online last spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is the second school year in a row disrupted by COVID-19. For a small percentage of students, however, school is still taking place at home on their laptops instead of in the classroom. School boards in Ontario are still required to provide virtual learning options for the 2021-22 school year. Stats released by local school boards show very few area students have opted for remote learning this school year. The Rainbow board said a survey sent out last month indicated less than five per cent of respondents had opted for remote learning. Sudbury Catholic District School Board said as of Sept. 10, four per cent of its students had chosen remote learning. Conseil scolaire public du Grand Nord de l’Ontario said last month it had only 44 students registered for elementary virtual learning, and none for secondary. No information was available from Conseil scolaire catholique Nouvelon, with a spokesperson saying that information would be available as of the end of September. Virtual learning numbers are higher in Southern Ontario school boards than they are here, with Toronto District School Board reporting 14 per cent had gone for the virtual learning option and Peel District School Board saying 18 per cent of elementary students and 20 per cent of high schoolers will learn from home.
Downtown BIA, YMCA offer homeless zero-barrier chance to give back
A new program is offering people who are homeless a chance to earn a little extra money by cleaning up the downtown core. The initiative is organized by the Downtown Business Improvement Area (BIA) and the Durham Street location of the YMCA of Northeastern Ontario. Kyle Marcus, managing director of the Downtown BIA, said the program is designed to ameliorate what he calls a community issue. It’s a chance to clean up the downtown core, while also giving a chance for those living there to feel pride and a sense of belonging. It’s a sponsor drive, community-led clean up program, said Marcus, and the zero-barrier aspects of it are what make it truly accessible to those living in the downtown area. “Basically, if you were using drugs yesterday, and you're using drugs tomorrow, but today, you want somewhere better to be somewhat productive and with a purpose,” said Marcus, “we want to invite you to come and clean up.”
Ontario has administered thousands of third COVID doses to the immunocompromised
Ontario has administered thousands of third doses of COVID-19 vaccine to some of the province's most vulnerable residents and will continue to do so despite the World Health Organization calling for a moratorium on the practice. The global public health agency this week urged vaccine-rich countries to stop offering third doses for the rest of the year so the shots can be diverted to under-vaccinated countries. "Based on the recommendation of the chief medical officer of health and health experts, Ontario is offering third doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to those at highest risk, providing them with an extra layer of protection against the Delta variant," said Alexandra Hilkene, a spokeswoman for Health Minister Christine Elliott. The added shots offer extra protection against COVID-19 to immunocompromised patients, such as transplant recipients, people receiving treatment for blood cancers, and those who have received an anti-CD20 agent. The COVID-19 vaccine is not as effective in those people, she said, and a third dose helps level the playing field for them.
Preliminary hearing scheduled in 2020 second-degree murder case
A five-day preliminary hearing is scheduled this month for the man charged with second-degree murder following a stabbing in the downtown on Oct. 14, 2020. Douglas Jeffries, represented by defence lawyer Michael Haraschuk, was arrested in Toronto on Oct. 16, 2020, and returned to Greater Sudbury. Haraschuk and the Crown attorney’s office confirmed they are ready to proceed with the preliminary hearing, slated to begin Sept. 20. Greater Sudbury Police said at the time of the incident that a 25-year-old man was stabbed outside a cash store on Elm Street. Police said just before 1:50 p.m. on Oct. 14, 2020, officers were called regarding a serious assault near the Cash Money on Elm Street downtown. Officers arrived on scene and located the victim, who had sustained serious injuries and required immediate medical attention. The victim was taken to Health Sciences North, but died Oct. 15.
Public Health Sudbury reports 11 new cases of COVID-19, Ontario reports 600
Public Health Sudbury and Districts (PHSD) reports 11 new cases of COVID-19 for today, Sept. 13. This includes any new cases reported over the weekend, when PHSD doesn't provide case count updates. PHSD also said there are now 47 active cases being monitored by public health officials. Also, since the PHSD began tracking COVID-19 cases, there have been 2,343 total COVID-19 cases confirmed locally. PHSD also said 2,296 of those cases have now been resolved. Public Health Ontario reported 600 new COVID cases today for Sept. 12. The latest updates noted 627 recoveries and four new deaths. Another two deaths that occurred more than one month ago were also reported today.
Rainy, stormy day in store for Tuesday
Tuesday may dawn clear, but expect things to get cloudy as the morning goes on. Fog patches will dissipate over the morning, but both showers and thunderstorms are possible today. The wind will be from the south at 30 km/h, but gusting to 50 in the morning. Today’s high is 18 with a UV index of two, or low. Showers and thunderstorms will end in the evening, but the clouds will stick around. There is a 30-per-cent chance of showers overnight. The wind will swing to blow from the west at 20 km/h with gusts up to 40, but will become light in the evening. The overnight low is nine.