Surge of cases and one more death leads PHSD to sound the alarm on COVID-19

Following the highest single-day increase of COVID-19 cases, Public Health Sudbury & Districts is sounding the alarm to ramp up measures to protect against COVID-19. In the last 7 days, 85 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the service area, with 32 of these cases reported in one day alone. These numbers do not include the additional 12 cases reported so far for Tuesday, March 2, 2021. An additional COVID-19 death sadly is also being reported today. To date, Public Health is advising that 28 COVID-19 cases have either screened positive or been confirmed for the more transmissible virus mutations, called variants of concern (VOC).

“We all need to heed the alarm that this news is sounding,” said Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, Medical Officer of Health with Public Health Sudbury & Districts. “With this surge in cases, our community is also experiencing outbreaks in schools and in settings where people are vulnerable. We must see it as our mission-critical right now to protect each other while Public Health and partners work to get vaccines in arms. We have only just begun our vaccination journey. In the mean time, saving lives and preventing serious illness will mean ongoing commitment to staying home as much as possible, distancing, masking, and testing when ill. We are not out of the woods yet – we must act now to reverse this very troubling trend,” said Dr. Sutcliffe

Public Health Sudbury & Districts is monitoring a number of outbreaks in various institutional, community, congregate care, and school settings, including a large multi-unit dwelling. Outbreak control measures are in place and Public Health continues to work closely with all affected individuals, agencies, and partners to prevent further spread of the virus. Public Health has notified those who are involved directly with outbreaks, as we always do. Public Health does not publicly report community outbreaks if we are able to identify and contact all affected individuals. Regardless of setting, activity, or situation, everyone is reminded to continue to screen themselves for symptoms and practise COVID-safe behaviours, including continuing to be patient and kind.

As Public Health works to track cases and their contacts to control the spread of COVID-19, much work also is underway with many partners to set up vaccination clinics across Sudbury and districts. The supply of vaccine has been limited and uneven; however, over the next week and coming month, the COVID-19 vaccine will be offered to additional priority groups in Phase 1 of Ontario Government’s vaccination plan.

In addition to highest priority health care workers and residents and staff of long-term care and high-risk retirement homes, upcoming groups that will be eligible for vaccine include Indigenous adults (Métis, Inuit and First Nations), very high priority health care workers, adults 80 years of age and older, adult recipients of chronic home care, and residents and staff of congregate care settings for seniors.

In the coming days and weeks, Public Health will provide additional information for these groups to pre-register and book appointments: if assistance is needed, help will be available. Every effort is being made to ensure that our immunization clinics are accessible and inviting, and that people have information about the opportunities with enough lead time to book appointments. Ongoing patience and understanding will be required as Public Health’s plans are subject to change based on vaccine supply.

“In addition to our efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19, we know that getting vaccines in arms is critically important to our community’s ability to overcome this pandemic,” said Dr. Sutcliffe. “Every clinic we offer and every vaccine that gets into an arm gets us one step closer to building our community’s immunity to COVID-19. The collaboration by partner agencies like Shkagamik-Kwe Health Centre, First Nation communities, as well as municipalities and local hospitals, for example, is significantly enhancing our ability to protect people,” added Dr. Sutcliffe.

For more information or if you have questions, please visit phsd.ca/COVID-19 or call Public Health Sudbury & Districts at 705.522.9200 (toll-free 1.866.522.9200).