Despite spike in cases, Sudbury to remain at Stage 3 reopening

Evidence of community spread in Sudbury returns, but no further restrictions – yet

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Although Sudbury’s number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has increased by 22 in the last 10 days, neither the province nor the health unit are considering rolling back to Stage 2 restrictions at this time.

However, Public Health Sudbury and District’s Chief Medical Officer of Health is keeping a sharp eye on the situation going into the long weekend and could consider further restrictions on a municipal level should it be deemed necessary.

“I did expect to see more cases of the virus now that we are in Stage 3. Even if we had perfect compliance with public health measures then we would still get spread because we are no longer in full lockdown,” said Dr. Penny Sutcliffe.

“Was I expecting to report 10 new cases on July 29? No. The thing that I think is most concerning about that is not so much the number of cases, but the fact that eight in total in the last week and a half in those who don’t know where they were exposed to the virus.”


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After almost a month of no identified cases of COVID-19 in Public Health’s service area, which includes Greater Sudbury, Manitoulin Island, and Sudbury districts like Espanola, the region saw a spike in positive cases beginning on July 20.

The health unit reported four active cases from July 20 and 25 and eight active cases on July 27. On July 29, the province of Ontario logged only 76 new cases of the virus, with 10 being identified in the Greater Sudbury region.

Despite the increases in positive cases in the region, there are no concrete plans at both municipal and provincial levels to return to either return to Stage 2 or introduce tighter restrictions or bylaws.

“The premier’s office is not considering rolling back regions to Stage 2 at this time. The government, in consultation with public health experts and local medical officers of health, will continue reviewing trends on an ongoing basis to determine if a region needs to revert back to Stage 2 or if public health measures need to be adjusted or tightened,” said Ivana Yelich, a spokesperson for Premier Doug Ford.

The premier’s office, in collaboration with Public Health Ontario, considers a number of criteria when doing its assessment.

These include the rate of virus spread and containment (which is usually measured by an increase or decrease in new COVID-19 cases over a period of two to four weeks), and health system, public health system and incidence tracking capacity.


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In other words, hospitals and health-care facilities must have sufficient acute and critical care capacity to effectively respond to potential surges, and the public health system must have adequate testing and contact tracing capacity.

Public Health Sudbury and Districts on Wednesday reported 10 new COVID-19 cases in residents in its service area. One case in an employee of Pioneer Manor, which followed an assessment by Public Health, prompted an outbreak declaration at the city-run long-term care home.

Through contact tracing, Public Health notifies all close contacts directly. If you are not contacted by Public Health, you are not considered a close contact.

All the new victims are from Greater Sudbury and all are self-isolating.

Public Health Sudbury and Districts has now recorded a total of 89 cases since the spring, with most of them in Greater Sudbury. The 22 cases recorded since last week have happened after the region moved to Stage 3 of Ontario’s reopening plan.

Two people in Sudbury have died after being infected.

The spike in cases prompted a flurry of comments on local social media pages this week, Len Gillis, a Local Journalism Initiative reporter with reported.

One widely circulating rumour is the cases might have resulted from a “pit party” held with roughly 100 teenagers about two weeks ago. Another rumour suggested the event was actually a party of 75 teenagers held at a home, in the backyard, with the blessing of a parent.


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One reader wrote to say she had heard from teenagers known to her son that the party was in Garson on the weekend of July 18 involving about 75 young people, aged 18 to 22.

“A mother there allowed her child to have a party,” she wrote. “The kids who went were from various areas of the city,” she added.

She could not verify the details and admitted the comments came to her second-hand.

The health unit said it had heard some of the talk of the public gatherings, but could not comment beyond that.

“Public Health Sudbury & Districts is aware of reports of a pit party. As part of our case and contact follow-up we investigate all potential sources of exposure and follow-up directly with close contacts of cases,” the health unit said. “In order to protect privacy of individuals, there are details that are not shared publicly unless there is a need to do so in order to protect public health.”

As it always does, the health unit is reminding people to take precautions to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

“Although permissible for up to 50 people indoors and 100 outdoors, non-essential in-person gatherings of any size should be limited,” the agency said. “Community spread remains possible and is likely in Sudbury and districts. Limiting our contacts and in-person interactions as much as possible is critical in reducing transmission of COVID-19.

“With few exceptions, gatherings are currently maxed at 50 people indoors and 100 outdoors. Unless people are from the same household or social circle, they should keep two metres (six feet) apart and wear a face covering if distancing is not possible. Face coverings must be worn in all indoor public spaces, and they must also be worn in other indoor spaces where distancing is not possible.

“Close contact is permitted within ‘social circles’ and among members from the same household. A social circle can only include up to 10 people and must always be with the same people. You can only belong to one social circle.”

The Local Journalism Initiative is made possible through funding from the federal government.

Twitter: @SudburyStar

Sudbury Star is part of the Local Journalism Initiative and reporters are funded by the Governmennt of Canada to produce civic journalism for underserved communities. Learn more about the initiative