Good morning, Greater Sudbury.
Here are some stories to start your day.
Medical Officer of Health concerned about recent spike in COVID-19 cases:
Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, medical officer of health at Public Health Sudbury and Districts shared her concern about the recent community spread of COVID-19. Greater Sudbury has seen a spike in COVID-19 numbers, with 22 new cases being reported in the past week and a half. "Of these, over a third are in people who just don't know how they were infected; they didn't travel somewhere where there's more COVID-19, they don't know anybody who has COVID-19," said Sutcliffe in a video statement that was released by PHSD Friday afternoon. "Just as they went about their usual business, their normal days they became infected. Could be me, could be you, could be any of us." Sutcliffe explained that this is evidence of continued community spread of the virus. "Perhaps that's not surprising with the province opening up and people getting together socially, meeting up with one another," said Sutcliffe. "But it is a reminder to us the important things we've been doing and we've been learning over the last number of months we need to continue." The city's medical officer of health explained that this means wearing face coverings, maintaining social distance, staying home if you're feeling ill, washing your hands and getting tested if you have any concerns that you may have COVID-19. Full story and Dr. Sutcliffe's video statement can be found here.
Sudbury immunologist: COVID-19 infections likely much higher than official numbers:
Sudbury immunologist Dr. Alain Simard believes there are far more people in the Sudbury area infected with the coronavirus than we know about. He said the number could be as many as 10 times more than the official numbers. Simard, an associate professor in the medical sciences division at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, was commenting this week on the latest spike in COVID-19 cases reported by Public Health Sudbury and Districts, which revealed on Wednesday that 10 new confirmed cases were reported. The health unit numbers also revealed that over a 10-day period, there were 22 new confirmed cases. Simard said most of those cases were tracked by the health unit and were the result of a person coming into contact with a traveller. He said this included the eight new cases reported on Monday, July 27. "And then two days later, the 10 news cases came out and a good portion of them were all with unknown exposure. To me, that's where things become a lot more concerning," said Simard. "Basically it means the virus is again moving around in our community and we don't know where it's from. It could be anyone. And that's when we could lose control of things." Full story here.
COVID Alert app is now available for download:
As Ontarians continue to do their part to help stop the spread of COVID-19, the Ontario government is encouraging everyone to download the new COVID Alert app on their smart phone from the Apple and Google Play app stores. This app, which is available beginning today, lets users know if they may have been exposed to the virus. It is free, easy and safe to use. The more people who download the app, the more effective it will be in stopping the spread of COVID-19. Work on COVID Alert was initiated in Ontario by the Ontario Digital Service and volunteers at Shopify, and was the foundation of the work by the Government of Canada. The app was developed in consultation with the Privacy Commissioners of Canada and Ontario to ensure the highest level of privacy for everyone using it. Full story can be found here.
Ground search for Meagan Pilon, missing 7 years, planned for end of August:
A ground search will take place near the end of August to find clues to the whereabouts or the fate of Meagan Pilon, who has been missing since September 2013. Pilon was 15 years old when she went missing. She was last seen by her father, Marc Pilon. Earlier this year, Sudbury.com published a story on a group called Please Bring Me Home, a volunteer-driven organization that is actively investigating dozens of missing persons across Canada. Please Bring Me Home is treating Pilon’s case as a homicide. The group had plans to conduct a ground search for Pilon this summer, with the goal of establishing a presence in Greater Sudbury to potentially help co-ordinate efforts around Northern Ontario. Read more on this story here.
Six people facing charges after Sturgeon Falls drug bust:
Around $7,800 in drugs were seized and six people charged after a home in Sturgeon Falls was searched earlier this week. On July 29 at around 7 p.m., members from the OPP Community Street Crime Unit (CSCU) and the Nipissing West Detachment executed a search warrant at a residence on Cache Bay Road in the Municipality of West Nipissing (Sturgeon Falls). Officers seized a quantity of drugs suspected to be: Fentanyl, Crystal Methamphetamine, Methamphetamine tablets and Hydromorphone along with drug paraphernalia and more than $6,500 in Canadian currency. The street value of the drugs seized is approximately $7,800. As a result of the investigation, six people were arrested and charged. More on this story here.
Cinéfest Sudbury announces free Aug. 20 virtual screening of ‘The Artist’s Wife’:
On Aug. 20, Cinéfest Sudbury will present a free virtual event screening of “The Artist’s Wife” for audiences to test out the new online festival platform. Additional films will be announced as part of this free virtual event screening by Aug. 6. Cinéfest Sudbury will also launch ticket sales and reveal the full festival lineup for Cinéfest 2020 via a virtual media conference, which audiences will be welcome to attend at Cinefest.com. Last month, Cinéfest Sudbury International Film Festival announced it decided to go with a “hybrid” festival this year, with a mix of in-person and virtual screenings. These plans are contingent on federal, provincial and municipal public health mandates, and based on continued success of our region and provinces mitigation of COVID-19 outbreaks. Cinéfest Sudbury will run Sept. 19-27. Find out more here.
DriveTest centres to expand road testing starting Tuesday:
Ontario's DriveTest centres will expand operations on Tuesday. Starting Aug. 4, road testing for class G2 and all motorcycle licences will resume, and the number of locations offering commercial driver road tests will also expand. To reduce crowding and support physical distancing, most DriveTest centres will continue to serve these customers based on the date of the customer’s birth. Customers who need road tests should visit DriveTest.ca to schedule a test. People with birthdays between January to June will be allowed to visit a centre one week, and people with birthdays between July to December will have access to DriveTest services the following week. Everyone is asked to hold off visiting a Drive Test Centre unless absolutely necessary. DriveTest requires customers to wear face coverings inside centres and during road tests. Customers will also need to sanitize their hands when entering the building and undergo temperature checks before road tests. Staff will wear personal protective equipment, and driving examiners will have face shields, sanitizer packages and seat covers when conducting road tests.