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Good morning, Sudbury! Here are seven stories to start your day

Here's what's happening around Greater Sudbury today
Under an Ontario plan to upgrade and modernize long-term care facilities, Pioneer Manor in Sudbury has been allocated 38 new beds and 122 upgraded spaces to create a 444-bed home, which also includes the construction of a new building. (File)

Good morning, Greater Sudbury.

Here are some stories to start your day.

Province funding new building, 38 new beds, 122 upgraded spaces for Pioneer Manor:

Under an Ontario plan to upgrade and modernize long-term care facilities, Pioneer Manor in Sudbury has been allocated 38 new beds and 122 upgraded spaces to create a 444-bed home, which also includes the construction of a new building. In a news release Thursday, the province said this project, part of Ontario’s Long-Term Care Modernization Plan, was about creating “a campus of care” in Greater Sudbury. Today (March 18), the Ontario government announced it was spending $933 million on 80 new long-term care projects, creating thousands of additional new and upgraded long-term care spaces across the province. Ontario said the announcement brings the Ford government “a step closer to fulfilling its commitment to add 30,000 much-needed long-term care spaces over 10 years.” Premier Doug Ford called the $933 million plan “historic.” "These historic investments will provide our seniors with the safe and modern living spaces they deserve, after decades of neglect and under-investment by previous governments," Ford said. In total, the 80 projects under the plan will add 7,510 new spaces and upgrade 4,197 spaces, the province said in a news release. More on this story here.

Public Health Sudbury reporting 41 new confirmed cases of COVID-19:

Public Health Sudbury and Districts (PHSD) has reported that there are 41 new cases of COVID-19 in the area for Thursday, March 18. PHSD also said there are now 261 active cases being actively monitored, an increase of 19 from Wednesday. This means that since the health unit began tracking COVID-19 cases one year ago, there have now been 1,100 total COVID-19 cases confirmed locally. PHSD also said 839 of those cases have been resolved locally. With respect to where the new cases might have occurred, the PHSD daily update page reported that 40 of the cases were found to have occurred within the Greater Sudbury Area, with one occurring in the Sudbury District. On the provincial COVID-19 register for Thursday, the Ontario government daily website reported there were 1,553 new confirmed COVID-19 cases across the province. Get the full report for Thursday here.

New report ranks Sudbury as the 99th most liveable city in Canada:

A survey collected by a Canadian rate comparison website found that the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the decisions of homebuyers. Of the 12 per cent of Canadians who plan to purchase or have already purchased a primary residence since April 2020, almost a quarter of them considered COVID-19 when making major decisions and 21 per cent of homebuyers have moved or plan to move from a major city hub to a small town or rural area. RATESDOTCA found that inaccessible housing prices plague many Canadian metropolitan areas and 61 per cent of homebuyers cite affordability as a key criterion when deciding to relocate. As a response to the trend of urban flight during the pandemic, the website created a Livability Report that ranks more than 150 Canadian communities based on affordability, growth potential and lifestyle. Out of 166 cities, Langford, B.C., was named the most liveable city in Canada. Greater Sudbury got the Gretzky, coming in at No. 99. Full story here.

Sudbury schools remain closed but new cases may still be linked to class outbreaks in the coming weeks:

Although schools in the Sudbury health region closed as of March 15, new school-related cases could be reported for up to two weeks after the closure, so continues to check the school board websites for case reports. For example, Public Health Sudbury declared an outbreak at Lockerby Composite School on March 14 after a third student tested positive for COVID-19. Although all schools were closed the next day, students and staff in the affected classes or cohorts were instructed to self-isolate until March 24. If a staff member or student tests positive for COVID-19 during that time, public health may determine the virus was contracted at the school and, therefore, it would be classified as a school-related case. According to information listed on the four school boards' websites, as of March 18 at 9:20 a.m., there were 38 active cases of COVID-19 in 18 schools. Five of the schools remain listed as active outbreaks.

Bigger among group of northern mayors urging Trudeau to reconsider handgun legislation:

The five members of the Northern Ontario Large Urban Mayors (NOLUM) — including Mayor Brian Bigger — have expressed their concern with the federal government's recently tabled gun legislation. The legislation would allow municipalities to ban handguns through bylaws restricting their possession, storage and transportation. Five Northern Ontario mayors have penned a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, expressly asking that the legislation be reconsidered. "In Northern Ontario alone, there are approximately 145 municipalities. We cannot begin to imagine the complexity the large number of municipalities in our area would create for law enforcement officials," said a letter from the five members of NOLUM. "On a matter such as handguns, it is clear to us that the Federal Government must own the responsibility for setting the rules." The five mayors representing NOLUM are Greater Sudbury mayor Brian Bigger, Sault Ste. Marie mayor Christian Provenzano, North Bay mayor Al McDonald, Timmins mayor George Pirie and Thunder Bay mayor Bill Mauro. More on this story here.

Ontario on its way to administering 150,000 COVID-19 vaccines per day:

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter by the day as the province continues to ramp up toward administering 150,000 COVID-19 vaccines daily. Ford spoke from a mass vaccination clinic in Hamilton on Thursday, stating that the province's vaccine booking system has already coordinated more than 225,000 vaccine appointments. In total, more than 400,000 vaccination appointments have been booked and nearly half of the province's highest priority citizens have received their vaccines. "We're making tremendous progress, in fact as of last night nearly 50 per cent of all residents aged 80 or older have now received at least their first dose," said Ford. "That's absolutely remarkable but we can do much more. We have the ability to administer over 4.8 million doses per month, and that's a conservative figure. In March we've only received enough supply to do just over 1.6 million. Clearly this math doesn't add up." The premier said that the federal government needs to increase its efforts in order to ensure that Ontario has enough doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in order to fulfil its ability to deliver it through the infrastructure that has been put in place. You can watch Thursday's press conference here.

Zalan: North’s higher percentage of older people means we need more vaccine doses:

Dr. Peter Zalan says Northern Ontario’s higher population of people over 65 and spiking cases in Thunder Bay and Sudbury suggest not only a need for a greater vaccine allocation but also a more innovative approach to getting vaccines to the people who need it most. You can read Zalan's latest column here.

Friday Weather:

Milder weather returns today as we head into the weekend. Mainly sunny on Friday with the high getting up to 7. It's going to be chilly out there this morning, feeling like -15 with the wind. Clear skies overhead into the evening with the low dipping back below the freezing mark. Overnight low will be -5, feeling like -7. For current weather conditions, short-term and long-term forecasts visit's weather page at