Good morning, Greater Sudbury.
Here are some stories to start your day.
Seven new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Greater Sudbury on Friday:
Public Health Sudbury & Districts is reporting seven new COVID-19 cases in residents in the service area (Greater Sudbury, Sudbury District, and Manitoulin District). This brings the total number of confirmed cases in the area to 25. All of the cases were exposed to the virus through international travel and/or close contact. All seven of the latest cases are currently self-isolating, with six in Greater Sudbury and one in the Sudbury District. Full story here.
Health officials: Province would have seen 100,000 COVID-19 deaths if measures weren't taken:
The message from some of Ontario's top health officials was clear on Friday: Ontarians need to continue practicing social distancing and taking all necessary precautions to fight the spread of COVID-19. Dr. Peter Donnelly, president and CEO of Public Health Ontario, and Adalsteinn (Steini) Brown, dean of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto laid out how grim the situation could have been had the province not taken measures such as shutting down schools and non-essential businesses, and how serious the situation remains. Donnelly explained that Ontario is following a similar trajectory to the rest of Canada and the United States in terms of the numbers of cases, while stating that much has already been done to limit the eventual death toll that the virus will leave in its wake when all is said and done. Brown laid out some of the numbers, indicating that had no measures been taken in Ontario, the province would be looking at roughly 6,000 deaths in the month of April alone. Current measures that have been put in place could still see 1,600 deaths by the end of the month, but "strong action" could bring that number down to 250 deaths. In terms of timeline when it comes to the lifespan of the virus, Donnelly says that it could be 18 months or up to two years before all is said and done, due to the propensity for secondary and tertiary waves to hit. Had no measures been taken, Ontario would have likely been looking at a death toll close to 100,000 over the entire lifespan of the virus. Full story here.
Ford calls a halt to all construction, save 'necessary' builds like hospitals, transportation:
The Ontario government has reduced the list of businesses classified as essential and is ordering more workplaces to close. This measure is necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of the people of Ontario, while ensuring that necessary goods and services remain available, said the province in a news release. The government is ordering all businesses not covered by the updated Emergency Order to close effective as of Saturday, April 4 at 11:59 p.m. This closure will be in effect for 14 days, with the possibility of an extension as the situation evolves. Teleworking, online commerce and other innovative ways of working remotely are permitted at all times and are strongly encouraged for all businesses. All supply chains necessary for the production of vital food and healthcare supplies are being protected and remain intact. Watch Ford's press conference from Friday here.
Mayor Brian Bigger provides an update on the local COVID-19 situation:
Sudbury.com spoke with Greater Sudbury mayor Brian Bigger on Friday afternoon about the COVID-19 situation. Managing editor Mark Gentili spoke with Bigger about the situation in Sudbury in terms of the number of infections, the response and the capacity for the system to respond to the needs of the community as a surge in cases approaches. Watch the conversation here.
$5K from Sudbury Police Association to sponsor Elgin Street Mission weekend meals:
The Sudbury Police Association recently presented a cheque for $5,000 to the Elgin Street Mission Food Fund. These funds will go to sponsor weekend meals at the agency, which supports Greater Sudbury's homeless and vulnerable populations. “The Sudbury Police Association’s donation will provide over 1,200 meals, again reinforcing the association’s commitment to helping others and making the City of Sudbury 'Greater,'” said a press release. “The meals are prepared with the generosity of the McKenzie Family Tim Horton’s (donating $800 worth of soup) and Sudbury Great Lakes Pizza, giving a 40-per-cent discount and 10 free pizzas.” The press release said it costs $1,475 to sponsor a weekend's worth of meals at the agency (350 meals).
OSAP loan payments deferred until September because of COVID-19:
If you have Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) loans, the province is easing your financial burden during the COVID-19 outbreak. The province has temporarily deferred payments for Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) loans. "During this unprecedented period, it is important to help students and current borrowers, so students can continue with their studies and borrowers do not have to worry about making loan payments," said Premier Doug Ford, in a press release. To support borrowers during this difficult period, loan repayments will be subject to a six-month interest-free moratorium until Sept. 30 of this year.
Minnow Lake group's KED appeal dismissed by LPAT:
John Lindsay and the Minnow Lake Restoration Group had their Kingsway Entertainment District appeal dismissed earlier this month on what Lindsay is calling "technicalities." The group received notice from the LPAT (Local Planning Appeal Tribunal) recently that the appeal had been dismissed on motion by other parties. "It would appear that the decision was based on technicalities, as interpreted by the Tribunal, and by an initial 'error'," said Lindsay in an email. While the decision to dismiss Lindsay and the Minnow Lake group's appeal was sprawled out over a more than 20-page report, Lindsay believes that it was a clerical error that tripped him up. Lindsay expressed his disappointment in the decision and remains insistent that the KED is a threat to Ramsey Lake. "This is most unfortunate as the just released SubWatershed Study specifically identifies the Kingsway location of the development, and large proposed parking area to be a threat to the nearby 'Significant Groundwater Recharge Area' of Lake Ramsey," said Lindsay, who says he's not finished fighting for the health of the lake. Full story here.
Beer Store will start taking empties again on April 6:
The Beer Store said it will resume its empty container recycling on April 6, after suspending the program on March 19 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Originally, the beer retailer had intended to resume empty container operations on April 1, but that is being held over until April 6 and only at select locations. Here in Sudbury, both the Lorne Street and Lasalle Boulevard locations will be accepting empty empties, and stores that are accepting returns will be operating at modified hours, open only between 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and regular hours on Sunday. Returns will be accepted at just 71 locations across Ontario initially.