Good morning, Greater Sudbury! Here are a few stories to get you started on this Saturday morning.
Ontario residents aged 50 years and older can now apply for COVID-19 third shot booster
The Ontario government announced Thursday it is accelerating the COVID-19 third shot booster vaccine eligibility requirement for residents aged 50 and over. The new appointment scheduling will go into effect at 8 a.m. on Dec. 13, said a news release from the Ministry of Health. There are several options to book the booster, including using the COVID-19 vaccination portal, by calling the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre, through Indigenous-led vaccination clinics, select pharmacies (more than 20 pharmacies in Sudbury offer the shot) and also through primary care settings. Appointments will be booked for approximately six months (168 days) after a second dose, said the ministry. The province is also easing the vaccine qualifier requirements for individuals who have certain medical conditions that might put them at a higher risk of developing a severe illness. Also, beginning in 2022, Ontario will further expand eligibility for booster doses based on age and risk, with an interval of six to eight months from the second dose.
‘Penalizing and terminating’ nurses not the way to address vaccine hesitancy, ONA says
Local unions representing 50 of the employees terminated by Health Sciences North for not complying with its mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy said that grievances will be handled on an individual basis. The Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) and the Ontario chapter of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) did not specify whether any grievances have been filed locally, but they did indicate that they have a legal duty to represent their members when requested. Health Sciences North said in a statement on Wednesday that it terminated 53 employees (1.4 per cent of its workforce) who did not provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination by the end of November. In total, 26 nursing and paramedical staff represented by the ONA and 24 clerical and service staff represented by CUPE had their employment terminated for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine. “We encourage and recommend that healthcare workers receive the vaccine if they can,” said Sheree Bond, media relations officer at ONA. “The ONA supports education and addressing vaccine hesitancy, not penalizing and terminating nurses when we need them most.”
Doyle Dodge spent its 100th anniversary year giving to community
Doyle Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram spent its 100th anniversary year giving to the community. Starting last December, the Doyle 100 Community Campaign gave a total of $130,000 to local charities. “It’s something that we’d actually been planning out for a number of years,” said Brian Doyle, co-owner of Doyle Dodge. “It didn’t matter what direction you looked in, there were organizations that were much in need, so it was something that you could just see the impact when charities were coming in to get their donations. “They were just over the moon, and it was a good feeling for sure.” Those charities, which received $10,000 each, include Réseau ACCESS Network, Sudbury Women’s Centre, Sudbury Charities Foundation, Camp Quality, the Pond Hockey Festival on the Rock, the CTV Lion's Children's Christmas Telethon, United Way Centraide North East Ontario, Inner City Home, ICAN – Independence Centre and Network, Monarch Recovery Services, Rotary Club of Sudbury Sunrisers (for a charity the group is helping, Water First), Maison Vale Hospice and the Northern Ontario Families of Children with Cancer. Doyle Dodge received nominations for deserving charities through a dedicated website, and people were able to vote for their favourite cause.
What are the chances?! Sudbury’s Jessop family wins HSN 50/50 cash lottery jackpot for the second time
Health Sciences North (HSN) Foundation, NEO Kids Foundation, Northern Cancer Foundation, and the HSN Volunteer Association have announced November’s HSN 50/50 Cash Lottery for the North jackpot of $476,808 has been won by Jay and Julie Jessop of Sudbury. If that wasn’t lucky enough, back In October, the couple took home more than $500,000 in that month’s draw. “This is the second time loyal ticket purchasers Jay and Julie have won the HSN 50/50 grand prize and the odds are astronomical,” the release reads. The couple said they are simply overwhelmed at their unbelievable luck. “I mean, what is there to say, really? We’re just very, very overwhelmed. It’s incredibly surreal” said a still shocked Jay Jessop a day after the draw was made, “We’re not even sure what to say to each other now after yesterday, let alone talk to friends and family. We just can’t believe our luck.”
Nickel Belt MP Marc Serré endorses bill to stop harassment of health workers and public at vaccine clinics
Nickel Belt MP Marc Serré is calling on constituents to support public health and the work of health care professionals in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Serré is also speaking out in favour of the proposed federal Bill C-3, which would make it an offence to harass health-care workers who are performing their duties or to harass members of the public who are seeking health services such as vaccinations. Serré made the comments in a letter to the editor where he remarked that vaccine hesitancy has become a challenge. "Despite scientific proof that vaccines are effective and safe, many are still too skeptical to get a vaccine. Hundreds of millions of people have been vaccinated worldwide. The vaccines are safe and have proven to be the best defence to reduce illness and ease the massive pressures encountered by far too many hospitals and their workforces across the country. We can all help dispel myths surrounding vaccines by only sharing credible, fact based and timely information," said Serré. He said Bill C-3 is important because physicians in different parts of the North, most recently in Latchford, have been threatened over the course of the pandemic. Serré added that parents and children were intimidated at a recent vaccine clinic in North Bay.
Turkey donations a 25-year Christmas tradition at Delta Bingo
This Christmas marks 25 years that Delta Bingo and Gaming Charities’ Sudbury Charities Foundation and ACT/UCT Sudbury have donated turkeys to Greater Sudbury families. The campaign, which represents about $300,000 in donations, was started by Bingo One/ Delta Bingo and Gaming founder, Ray Loiselle, in 1996. Loiselle and Delta’s member charities partnered with Sudbury Charities Foundation, ACT/UCT Sudbury to bring turkeys to the dinner table for 1,200 families at Christmas. With recent demand increasing, Club Richelieu de Sudbury recently jumped on board to provide extra funding to support this important initiative. “It’s campaigns like this one that help make the holidays brighter for families in Greater Sudbury,” said Richard Schwar, charity association co-ordinator. “We are honoured to continue the legacy that Loiselle had started many years ago and bring the spirit of Christmas to the community.” Revenues raised through gaming at Delta Bingo and Gaming Sudbury, by Sudbury Charities Foundation, ACT/UCT Sudbury and Club Richelieu Sudbury ensure this program continues each year.
Not a bad day today, but major storm possible for Sunday
Expect a high of -3 today with snow ending in the morning. Wind will be from the northwest at 20 km/h in the morning, bringing a wind chill of -14 in the morning and -8 in the afternoon. The UV index is one, or low. Tonight, the temperature will drop to -14 with cloudy periods and a 40-per-cent chance of flurries. A winter storm is expected Sunday afternoon through Monday evening. Environment Canada said to expect heavy snow, with accumulations of 10 to 25 centimetres, with strong winds and gusts of 60 to 70 km/h. There is a risk of heavy rain or freezing rain for some areas. Hazardous travel conditions are expected. A strengthening low-pressure system is expected to track east across the Great Lakes Sunday through Monday. There remains some uncertainty in the track of this low-pressure system and as a result, the snowfall amounts and areas affected by freezing rain and heavy rain could change. At this time, areas north and west of Sudbury are expected to receive mainly snow, whereas areas east and south of Sudbury could see a wintry mix of precipitation. Warnings will be issued as the event draws nearer.