COVID-19 in Sudbury & districts: Your weekly update March 18, 2021Issued: Thursday, March 18, 2021
Reporting period: Thursday, March 11, 2021, to Wednesday, March 17, 2021.
March 18, 2021 — The following is a summary of how the status of COVID-19 has changed in Public Health Sudbury & Districts’ service area over the last seven days up to end of day March 17, 2021: 218 new cases, and 184 cases were resolved. There were no COVID-related deaths. One hundred and two (102) new cases screened positive for a COVID-19 variant of concern, which is 47% of the cases reported in this period. Twenty-three (23) outbreaks were active in the past week, including 9 in local schools, 3 in a hospital, 2 in community congregate living settings, 3 in local workplaces, 1 in each of the following settings: a long-term care home, a retirement home, a shelter, a large multi-unit dwelling, a local recreational facility and a restaurant. Seven (7) outbreaks were declared over in the past 7 days, 4 in schools, 1 in a retirement home, 1 in a local recreational facility and 1 in a community congregate living setting. At end of day March 17, 2021, there were 242 active cases in our service area, and 17 active outbreaks. Thirteen (13) cases were hospitalized, while the rest were self-isolating.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been a total of 1,059 local cases of which 817 are resolved, and 15 people have died in our service area. Two hundred and ten (210) have screened positive for a COVID-19 variant of concern (VOC), three (3) of which have been confirmed as a VOC.
Trends in the past seven days
- Of the 218 new cases in our service area, 48 were associated with an outbreak, while 106 were close contacts of confirmed cases. This means that Public Health identified how these people were exposed to COVID-19 and was able to take quick action to prevent further spread. None of the cases were travel-related, while the source of exposure was unknown for 51 cases. Thirteen (13) cases remained under investigation.
- Two hundred and twelve (212) cases reside in Greater Sudbury, while 5 reside in the Sudbury District and 1 in Manitoulin District.
- By end of day on March 17, contact tracing information was available for all 218 of the new cases. Through our investigation, we identified 520 people who had high-risk close contacts with these cases. That is an average of 2 high-risk close contacts per case, compared to 4.0 contacts per cases last week. Public Health follows up directly and regularly with every high-risk close contact to monitor them for symptoms, ensure they are self-isolating, and make recommendations for testing according to provincial guidance.
- The 7-day incidence rate was 109.6 new cases per 100 000 population (compared to 71.6 for the previous 7 days).
- The percent positivity was 2.48% for the period of March 8 to March 14 (compared to 1.99% for the previous 7 days).
- For the period of March 10 to March 16, the effective reproductive number (Rt) was 1.0 for Northern Ontario, and 1.05 for Ontario overall.
- While we are in the Grey-Lockdown level of the COVID-19 Response Framework, remember to be COVID-safe! Stay home as much as possible except for essential reasons like going to work, picking up groceries, or attending a medical appointment. A simple rule to help limit the spread is to have the fewest interactions possible with the fewest number of people, at the greatest distance.
- Were you asked to self-isolate? If you are in self-isolation, this means that you should stay away from others in your household. As much as possible, stay in a separate room or level of the home. If a child is too young or cannot isolate on their own, one parent or caregiver can isolate with them, away from the rest of the household.
- Effective Monday March 15, all schools within the City of Greater Sudbury and districts of Sudbury and Manitoulin (except for schools in Chapleau, Foleyet and Gogama) transitioned to virtual learning. Adjusting to these changes can be challenging for parents or caregivers, children, and teenagers. Here are some tips that may reduce stress and build resiliency.
- Good news about the COVID-19 vaccines! In the context of limited vaccine supply, the National Advisory Council on Immunization and the Ministry of Health have recommended that the interval for the second dose of COVID-19 vaccines extend to up to 16 weeks (with some exceptions). This means that vaccine distribution can ramp up and more people will be able to get their first dose.
- Reminder to health care workers and adults born in 1941 or earlier, or recipients of chronic homecare to pre-register for their vaccine. Adults 80 years of age and older (born in 1941 or earlier) can also pre-register by calling 674.2299 (toll-free 1.800.708.2505) to pre-register for their COVID-19 vaccine. If you have already pre-registered, you do not need to register again.
- The City of Greater Sudbury and Public Health Sudbury & Districts launched a pilot project whereby local paramedics administer COVID-19 vaccine directly in the homes of homebound individuals who are born in 1941 or earlier or who receive chronic home care services. This pilot will permit access to the COVID-19 vaccine for eligible individuals who are unable to leave their homes.
- The Ontario Government announced that its new COVID-19 vaccine appointment booking system is online for those who are 80 years of age and older (individuals born in 1941 or earlier). The provinces booking system has not been launched locally yet, however, individuals in Public Health’s service area can continue to pre-register for vaccinations by following the directions available on the vaccination clinics for COVID-19 page at phsd.ca, which also provides information about the groups of people who are currently eligible for vaccinations.
Message from Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, Medical Officer of Health
It’s been nearly a week since our service area was placed in Grey-Lockdown by the Ontario Government, and that schools were instructed by me, with support from area school boards, to transition to virtual learning. It is critical that everyone remains vigilant and follows public health measures, as we are still seeing many new cases, several active outbreaks, and many cases related to variants of concern (VOCs). We continue to make progress with the COVID-19 vaccination program and are offering the vaccine to many priority groups at the same time. The pilot project in which local paramedics administer vaccine directly in the homes of homebound individuals is an example of the innovative solutions being implemented by Public Health and our partners at the City of Greater Sudbury. We are committed to offering the vaccine to anyone who is eligible and wishes to receive it.
Visit phsd.ca/COVID-19/data for regular updates about COVID-19 testing, confirmed cases, as well as outbreaks and potential exposures in Greater Sudbury, the District of Sudbury, and the District of Manitoulin. In addition, a detailed epidemiology summary is posted Mondays and Thursdays that includes information about cases over time, case characteristics, probable exposures, case outcomes, testing, and outbreaks in facilities.
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).