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Good morning, Greater Sudbury! Here are a few stories to start your day

Happy Thursday!
180921_ES_Kathy-Young crop
Sudbury.com reader Kathy Young snapped this image of geese relaxing in the water as the sun goes down. Sudbury.com welcomes submissions of local photography for publication on this page. Send yours to editor@sudbury.com.

Good morning, Greater Sudbury! Here are a few stories to get you started on this Thursday morning.

Health Sciences North working at 100% capacity to tackle surgery backlog while trying to attract more nurses

The effort to attract more health care workers to Health Sciences North continues. The careers section of the HSN website shows more than 30 openings for registered nurses and registered practical nurses, among various other listings for a wide selection of hospital workers. The current vacancies are almost identical to job postings that were listed six months ago at HSN in the first week of April 2021. Some of the latest job offerings are for temporary positions. Most are for permanent positions. This comes amidst recent Toronto media reports suggesting that the nursing profession in Ontario is in a crisis. Information and advocacy groups have addressed what they say is a shortage of nurses, including the Careers in Nursing website, which stated, "Canada is facing a growing nursing shortage, largely because of an aging nursing workforce. Even if lots of new nurses are trained, it will be very difficult to offset the large number of nursing retirements that are anticipated." The website predicted that by 2022, Canada will face a shortage of 60,000 RNs. So far, however, the shortage does not appear to be slowing down the surgical backlog at the Sudbury hospital. "As of October 4th, the surgical wait list has 4,490 patients, down from a peak of 4,651 this summer," said the HSN communication office. This number compares with 3,500 patients that were on the surgical waitlist prior to the start of the pandemic. 

Read the full story here.

Brace yourself and get a vaccine, pharmacist says, tough flu season ahead

A Nickel City pharmacist in Val Caron is among those warning Sudburians of a tougher flu season ahead as the province continues to ease COVID-19 restrictions. Flu cases may have dropped to record lows in 2020 as a result of infection control measures implemented to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus, but experts are expecting an increase in influenza cases this fall and winter. Pharmacist Rob Bignucolo said the single most important thing that people can to do protect themselves and their loved ones against the flu virus is to get their flu shot. Local pharmacies are hoping to be able to offer the vaccine by late October or early November. “For a lot of last year, we were in lockdown. Businesses were closed, people were working from home, kids were out of school, and people were limited in terms of how many people they came into contact with,” said Bignucolo. “At the same time, everyone was wearing a mask and practicing increased sanitation, including hand-washing, wiping down surfaces, and coughing into their sleeves. All of this reduced transmission significantly.” Health officials have declared that we’re in the fourth wave of the pandemic, so COVID-19 measures will continue to remain a top priority in the coming months.

Read the full story here.

Police release images of Eyre Street arson suspect

Greater Sudbury Police are hoping the public can help identify the person suspected of a setting fire to a structure on Eyre Street on Oct. 1. Around 7:20 a.m. that day, GSPS was contacted by Greater Sudbury Fire Services in regards to the fire. “Upon extinguishing the fire, firefighters deemed the fire to be suspicious and contacted police,” GSPS said in a news release. At the time of the fire, the building — the former home of Theatre Cambrian — sits empty. It sustained substantial damage. Sudbury Police said the Ontario Fire Marshal’s office, which was called in to assist in the investigation, has confirmed the fire was deliberately set. Through the investigation, detectives were able to obtain surveillance footage of the suspect believed to have set the fire.

After feeding homeless for a year, Bizzzy Bea’s fundraising to keep clients warm this winter

It began with just one meal. Almost a year later, Bizzzy Bea’s has 40 volunteers feeding the homeless of Sudbury. Chantelle Roy, founder of Bizzzy (yes 'Bizzzy' with three Zs) Bea’s, saw a Facebook post offering some food for free. She organized a pick up, and decided to donate the food to local organizations in need. Having started her operation at the beginning of winter 2020, she knows how harsh the season can be. It is for this reason Roy decided to fundraise with the new official Bizzzy Bea’s fur-lined hat. Supporters can purchase the hats, full coverage with fur-lining, for those who are homeless or unable to afford warm clothing. Roy is hoping to have Santa Claus volunteer to hand out the hats in Memorial Park as part of their one-year anniversary celebrations. Each one is purchased for a person in need, rather than for the customer, and a volunteer, Nicole Dubé, will be adding Bizzzy Bea’s ‘double B’ to the ear flap. The cost is a donation of  $14 and information can be found on their Facebook page or by emailing bizzzybeas@gmail.com. “It really humbles you and it really makes you realize that everybody has a point in life where you need to give back, because you don't know what your path is in the future,” said Roy. “It kind of really makes you realize to be grateful for everything and to be able to give back when you can.”

Read the full story here.

Starting November, COVID vaccination required for plane, train travel in Canada

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a new mandatory vaccination requirement for air and train travel in Canada. By the end of November, anyone aged 12 years or older will have to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to board a plane or a train in Canada, and that will include staff. Trudeau said at that point, testing will not be an option to bypass the vaccine requirement. "This is about keeping people safe in their job and their communities," said Trudeau. The travel requirement is one of two new federal vaccine mandates announced today (Oct. 6) by Trudeau and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland. The second mandate requires all federal workers to be vaccinated by Oct. 29, which will include federal public servants, RCMP, border service agents, correctional services and those working in federal public administration. "We are taking this step to protect those who work in federal public service and their families, and it protects everyone who does business with federal departments," said Freeland. 

Read the full story here.

Ontario top doc says Thanksgiving dinner is a go, but within gathering limits

Thanksgiving 2021 can include larger gatherings than in 2020, with gathering limits up to 25 people indoors and 100 people outdoors. In 2020, gatherings over the Thanksgiving weekend were limited to 10 people indoors. The province's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Kieran Moore, said there will be a list of recommendations posted and announced on Thursday. But he did provide an early "nutshell" summary of the public health advice for the upcoming long weekend. "If you're having family over and you're all completely vaccinated, if you feel comfortable removing your masks, that would be absolutely appropriate," said Moore. "If it's a mixed group of vaccinated and unvaccinated, and if you go indoors, I would suggest you keep your masks on." The doctor also reminded Ontarians of the current gathering limits in place allowing up to 25 people indoors and 100 people outdoors. 

Read the full story on the Sudbury.com homepage.

Northern Game Expo returning after last year’s cancellation

After a year’s forced hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic hitting alongside related health restrictions, the Northern Game Expo is returning to Sudbury with an event at the Caruso Club. “Two years has been a very stressful time trying to get something planned,” co-founder and organizer Bradley Davidson told Sudbury.com this week, adding that it’s been frustrating as both an event organizer and a member of local “nerd culture.” “It’s the best thing that I could have ever hoped for, is to get everyone in one room when normally they might not converse with one another,” he said, adding that bonds are forged during these kinds of events that can last forever. This year’s event will find many of the components initially planned for last year’s cancelled show carried over. It will take place at the Caruso Club on Oct. 17 from 12-5 p.m.  Everyone attending must wear a mask at all times and provide proof of vaccination. Although they’re only allowed half-capacity at the venue, Davidson said that at an allowance of 400 people at any given time they can still have a decent crowd. With people coming and going throughout the day, he said even more people will be allow to attend. 

Read the full story on the Sudbury.com homepage.

The nice days keep on coming: Sunny and warm for Thursday

A week of gorgeous fall weather continues today in the Nickel City. Expect a high of 21 for your Thursday with a UV index of four, or moderate. Fog patches will dissipate in the morning, and the skies will be mostly sunny for the day. This evening, the skies will be clear and the temperature will dip to 10.