Good morning, Greater Sudbury! Here are a few stories to get you started on this Saturday morning.
Health Sciences North employees could face discipline for not having the COVID-19 vaccine
Some employees at Health Sciences North (HSN) may face disciplinary action for not following COVID-19 mandatory vaccination protocols. It was a month ago on Sept. 1 that all medical staff, learners, volunteers and new hires were to be fully vaccinated in order to work at the hospital. All learners and volunteers are fully vaccinated, said HSN. HSN also said based on the latest available data, more than 92 per cent of current employees and medical staff are fully vaccinated. HSN said 5.6 per cent of the hospital team have declined vaccinations after completing mandatory education and 0.2 per cent were provided a medical exemption. HSN said employees without full vaccinations are required to undergo rapid antigen testing and provide results twice a week. "We currently have approximately 70 people who have not yet provided their rapid antigen test result this week,” said HSN. “Conversations will occur with them in the coming days. If they do not provide test results twice per week, they may eventually be deemed unfit for work and suspended without pay.”
Long-term care home staff must be double vaxxed by Nov. 15
Ontario is mandating COVID-19 vaccines for long-term care staff. The policy announced today is effective Nov. 15. It affects all in-home staff, support workers, students and volunteers unless they have a valid medical exemption. The province also announced it is expanding inspections of homes and redirecting provincial resources to enhance audit testing in homes. As of Aug. 31, there were about 44 per cent of long-term care homes with staff vaccination rates below 90 per cent. With the delta-driven fourth wave of the pandemic, the province said those vaccination rates aren't high enough. “We know that long-term care residents have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. As new variants continue to spread, we are seeing a growing number of outbreaks in long-term care homes where the risk to those most vulnerable remains high,” said Rod Phillips, Minister of Long-Term Care, in a news release. “This enhanced suite of measures, including mandatory vaccinations for those working in the homes of long-term care residents, is one more way we will provide them the greatest level of protection possible.”
Fire at former Theatre Cambrian building deemed suspicious
An early-morning fire at the former Theatre Cambrian/St. Eugene church building on Eyre Street has been deemed suspicious. Greater Sudbury Fire Services Deputy Fire Chief Jesse Oshell said the Ontario Fire Marshal’s Office and Greater Sudbury Police Service has been brought in to investigate the fire. “Certainly the nature of the fire was that we felt the need to call in police services and the fire marshal’s office,” Oshell said. There were no injuries to either firefighters or civilians, and firefighters have not observed any civilians in or around the building since their arrival on scene. He said the fire was called in at 6:15 a.m. Friday morning, with reports that flames and smoke were coming from some of the windows in the building. Firefighters were able to get the fire under control within half an hour. Oshell said the fire was centred in the former theatre space/sanctuary in the building. He estimates the damage to be in the range of $500,000.
Sudbury Art Crawl holding events throughout the city Saturday
This Saturday, Oct. 2, from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., art lovers can once again enjoy the Sudbury Art Crawl. A grassroots cultural event celebrating the arts in the city, the Sudbury Art Crawl features a variety of works by local artists at local venues throughout the city. The artists are at all stages of their careers, offering you a diverse range of exhibits and works. The venue list below shows all the locations around town featuring visual artists that day, and organizers want Sudburians to be sure to visit the downtown core, which will offer live indoor music, busking performances, a book launch from Latitude 46 Publishing, and a theatre performance by Theatre du Nouvel Ontario. In 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Downtown Sudbury Art Crawl used a hybrid approach, hosting two events where art was featured in downtown businesses' window fronts for everyone to explore safely over the course of a whole month with the piece auctioned online at the end of each event. This year, the organizers will again use the hybrid model, but also be able to offer much more, even while in a pandemic.
Cubs drop two in a row to Soo Thunderbirds
A pair of goals early in the second period helped the visiting Soo Thunderbirds to 4-2 Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League victory over the Greater Sudbury Cubs at Countryside Arena in Sudbury on Sept. 30. The Cubs' Thursday loss came after the Thunderbirds stormed back from a three-goal deficit in the third period on Sunday at the John Rhodes Community Centre in Sault Ste. Marie to beat the Cubs 5-4. With three wins and three losses, the Cubs are sitting second in the West Division behind the Thunderbirds. Greater Sudbury is back in action on Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. on the road against the Blind River Beavers. The Cubs then return home for an Oct. 3 tilt at Countryside Sports Complex against the visiting Soo Eagles. Puck drops at 7 p.m.
Labour ministry says it is investigating Totten Mine incident
An incident at Vale’s Totten Mine on Sunday that rendered the cage lift inoperable and forced 39 miners to use secondary egress ladders to ascend out of the Worthington-area mine is under investigation by the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MLTSD). The mine cage lift was put out of commission after a scoop bucket being slung into the mine became lodged in the shaft at the 650 foot level, causing damage to about a 100-foot section of the shaft. In a situation that has grabbed national media headlines, the Vale employees gradually emerged from the mine this week with the help of mine rescue, with the last group coming out at 4:45 a.m. Wednesday morning. A spokesperson for the MLTSD said in an email the ministry has “engaged workplace parties and a ministry team, including experts in health and safety inspections and engineering,” and “is now proceeding with an investigation to check for contraventions with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and Mining regulations.” As of 9 a.m. Wednesday, the MLTSD had issued eight orders to Vale. When an inspector determines that a contravention of the Occupational Health and Safety Act is occurring, they issue orders to the appropriate workplace party to bring them into compliance.
Rainbow board wants province to add COVID-19 to list of school mandatory vaccines
The Rainbow District School Board has joined other school boards across Ontario in asking that the province consider adding COVID-19 vaccines to the list of mandatory vaccines under the Immunization of School Pupils Act. The following motion was passed by Rainbow board trustees at their Sept. 28 meeting: “That the board write a letter to the Minister of Education and the Minister of Health to consider amending the Immunization of School Pupils Act to include COVID-19 as a ‘designated disease.’” The act referenced in the motion requires that children and adolescents attending primary or secondary school be appropriately immunized against designated diseases, unless they have a valid exemption. Currently, proof of immunization is required for the following designated diseases: diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, meningococcal disease, pertussis (whooping cough) and varicella (chickenpox) — that last one is for children born in 2010 or later. The motion was moved by trustee Margaret Stringer, and seconded by trustee Dena Morrison.
Read the full story on the Sudbury.com homepage.
Forecast promises a rainy weekend for the region
Well, Greater Sudbury, expect a rainy couple days for the first weekend of October. Saturday, expect a few showers to end in the morning then stay cloudy for the day. The high is a nice 20 though, with a UV index of three, or moderate. Saturday evening, expect more showers. The overnight low is 10. On Sunday, there’s a 60 per cent chance of showers for much of the day and a high of 16. For the evening, there’s a decent chance of more showers and a low of 10.