Good morning, Greater Sudbury! Here are a few stories to get you started on this weekend.
More than 6,200 Sudbury district residents received a vaccination shot so far in September
New figures from Public Health and Sudbury and Districts (PHSD) show that more than 6,200 local residents have stepped up for first and second dose COVID-19 vaccines since Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced a provincial vaccine passport policy on Sept. 1, 2021. The new policy states that people who have their full two-dose vaccinations can take part in several non-essential functions such as going to pubs, restaurants, cinemas, concerts, casinos, bingo halls, sporting events and fitness facilities. Daily COVID-19 summary reports from the health unit show that in the past 22 days, 1,779 area residents have attended local vaccination clinics to get their first shots. In addition to that, another 4,511 individuals have gone in to get their second vaccine dose in the same three-week period. PHSD also reported that overall, 87.6 per cent of Sudbury area residents aged 12 and older have received their first dose of a vaccine, compared to 85.5 per cent for all Ontario residents aged 12 and older. The health unit also reported that second doses have been received by 81.1 per cent of those aged 12 and older in the local health jurisdiction, compared to 79.6 per cent of Ontarians of the same age overall. Read the full story on the Sudbury.com home page.
Larger crowds permitted at some indoor and outdoor settings in Ontario
The province is loosening capacity limits at some settings provided the crowds provide proof of vaccination. Ontario's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Kieran Moore, announced higher capacity allowances starting Saturday for most indoor settings where proof of vaccination is required. The expanded capacity limits also apply to outdoor events at sports and concert venues. Read the full story here.
Swim club hit hard in wake of closure of Laurentian’s pool
The closure of Laurentian University’s pool has hit Sudbury Laurentian Swim Club hard, said its head coach. Dean Henze said the club is swimming out of city pools this season as the Jeno Tihanyi Olympic Gold Pool at Laurentian remains closed to the public during the university’s financial restructuring. It has greatly impacted the club’s ability to offer the amount of quality pool time for its swimmers. “The city does not have enough usable pool time for the competitive clubs (times between 3:30-6:30 p.m.),” said Henze. “Our senior swimmers have to train predominantly in the mornings at 6 a.m. This is fairly normal, except we don’t usually have to do it six days per week. It has taken a toll.” LU is also the only pool that can accommodate the entire region at the same venue, said Henze. Learn more here.
Vaccine mandates are likely to win over legal challenges, law profs say
Legal experts say the validity of the COVID-19 vaccine and the current government vaccine mandates are likely to prevail. That’s because there is no other solid evidence that says the vaccines or vaccine mandates are wrong and there is no reason for the courts or arbitrators to take a different position at this time. The public webinar, lasting one hour, was organized by the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law at Lakehead University out of Thunder Bay to discuss vaccine mandates and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Speakers included Mariette Brennan, associate professor in the faculty of law, and Vanessa Gruben, associate professor from the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law. Dean Jula Hughes chaired the discussion. Many legal discussions are occurring in Ontario this week since the government mandate on vaccine passports came into effect Sept. 22. Read more here.
Blended in-person and virtual Wordstock literary festival planned for Nov. 4-6
The Wordstock Sudbury Literary Festival is a go, with a blended in-person and virtual version of the event slated to take place Nov. 4 to 6. Organizers hosted a media event at Holiday Inn Sudbury at 1696 Regent St. to announce the upcoming festival, which event chair and co-founder Heather Campbell said was intended to demonstrate their ability to host an in-person event. The event will also take place at the Holiday Inn, and like today’s media event proof of vaccine will be required at the door, masks will be worn at all times other than when a speaker was at the podium and seats will be spaced out to account for physical distancing. “I wanted for all to see where we’re having it, how it can happen, that it is doable,” Campbell said after the event, adding that this is similar to what they’d intended on doing last year until a surge in COVID-19 cases forced them to host an online-only version of the festival. Although disappointing at the time, board member Bennett Malcolmson said last year’s virtual format opened the doors for people from across the country to take part in the festival. This year’s hybrid version will allow for a virtual crowd as well as those who prefer the traditional in-person festival, and Malcolmson credits the virtual version with helping them achieve their accessibility mandate. Read the full story on the Sudbury.com home page.
Fake vaccine passports are a very bad idea, says medical officer of health for North Bay area
With vaccine passports coming into place in Ontario this week, North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit medical officer of health Dr. Jim Chirico realizes there will be a small percentage of people that will try to bend the rules to avoid getting vaccinated. One of those ways is to forge vaccination documents that are required to be displayed to enter many indoor venues in Ontario from gyms to restaurants. "There are always situations where that is going to occur, where people are going to produce fraudulent vaccine certificates," admitted Chirico during Thursday's weekly online media conference. "What they need to know too is that you can be prosecuted for doing that." Read the full story here.
This weekend will be more of the same in terms of the weather we've been getting lately — namely, moody skies and probably some rain. Saturday will be cloudy. A few showers beginning in the morning. Wind southeast 20 km/h gusting to 50 becoming southwest 20 gusting to 40 near noon. High of 15 C with temperature falling to 12 C in the afternoon. UV index 2 or low. Saturday night will be cloudy with 60 percent chance of showers. Low of 8 C. Sunday will be cloudy with a 60 per cent chance of showers. High of 15 C. Sunday night there will be cloudy periods with a 40 per cent chance of showers. Low of 7 C.