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COVID-19: Here's the situation in the Sault this week

No new cases in Algoma Region since July 9
James Hopkin/SooToday

Public Health Ontario is reporting 92 new COVID-19 cases in the province today,

Of today's reported new cases, 38 are individuals between the ages of 20 and 39, and four are over the age of 80. 

Sunday marked a historical day in Ontario's fight against COVID-19. The province marked seven straight days with less than 100 new COVID-19 cases reported each day.

This streak ended the next day, when Public Health Ontario reported 115 new cases on Monday. Cases dropped back down on Tuesday with 57 new cases, surged up to 95 on Wednesday, before dropping to 78 on Thursday.

Thursday's results do not include data from Toronto Public Health due to a software glitch.

All regions in Ontario are now in Stage 3 of the province's reopening framework. Windsor-Essex was the last to join, at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday.

Locally, Algoma Public Health has changed the way it reports cases on their website. On Friday, APH posted an update stating numbers will only be reported Monday to Friday, and pending numbers will no longer be reported.

However, new positive cases will still be reported daily.

Here's the latest local, provincial, and federal news regarding COVID-19 cases and funding that you need to know:

No new cases in Algoma region today

Currently, there is one active case in the Algoma region.

Here are the latest COVID-19 numbers from Algoma Public Health, updated on Friday: 

  • 23,259 tested
  • 27 positive
  • 22,579 negative
  • 0 deceased
  • 27 resolved

Total confirmed cases by area of residence: 

  • 22 in Sault Ste. Marie and area, with evidence of community spread
  • 2 in central and east Algoma
  • 3 in Elliot Lake and area
  • 0 in north Algoma

Canada-U.S to extend border restrictions until Sept. 21

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says restrictions at the Canada-U.S. border will be extended another 30 days due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It means the two countries will continue their mutual ban on non-essential cross-border travel until at least Sept. 21.

More details can be found here.

Province loosens COVID-19 restrictions for sport, fitness and recreation facilities

The provincial government has announced that sport, fitness and recreation facilities can increase their capacity limit per room.

As of Saturday at 12:01 a.m., these facilities can have up to 50 patrons for each indoor sport of fitness room, while ensuring physical distancing measures.

Ford's government also announced it will be spending $8 million through the Ontario Amateur Sport Fund to help the province's sports organizations recover from COVID-19.

Watch the full press conference here.

City receives $5.4 million in municipal COVID-19 relief

The City of Sault Ste. Marie is receiving $5.4 million from the provincial and federal governments to offset expenditures and financial losses arising from the COVID-19 pandemic as part of the Safe Restart Agreement. 

Sault Ste. Marie MPP Ross Romano was joined by Mayor Christian Provenzano says the municipality has incurred a loss of $3.2 million to date due to the ongoing pandemic, and that the new funding will ensure that the municipality can continue to deliver safe services to the community, such as the operation of municipal facilities.

Read the full story by SooToday's James Hopkin here.

School boards putting back to school plans in place

As children and teens prepare to head back to elementary and secondary school classrooms in September, the Algoma District School Board (ADSB) and Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board (H-SCDSB) are aiming to make sure social distancing is put in place at schools due to COVID-19 concerns.

Read the full story from SooToday's Darren Taylor here.

Weeks before school restart, Ontario allows boards to tap into reserve funds

Tensions escalated between the Ontario government and teachers' unions Thursday, as the province rushed to free up money to allow boards to address pandemic safety concerns just weeks before schools are set to reopen.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce said school boards will be allowed to access $500 million of their own reserve funds to achieve physical distancing in classrooms. The government will also spend $50 million to update school ventilation systems, and another $18 million to hire principals and support staff to administer online learning.

Read more about the announcement here.

Algoma Family Services, Pheonix Rising receive federal funding from COVID-19 Economic Response Plan

Sault Ste. Marie MP Terry Sheehan announced this week that the federal government is allocating $25,000 each to support Algoma Family Services and Phoenix Rising.

The funding comes from the $50 million COVID-19 Economic Response Plan to assist programs and organizations providing support women and families fleeing violence.

Read the full release here.

Bearskin to increase flights between the Sault and Thunder Bay

Starting Monday, Sept. 14, 2020, Bearskin Airlines will be increasing its flights between the Sault, Sudbury, North Bay and Thunder Bay every other week, bringing weekday service to two flights daily as well as adding Sunday service. 

Read more about flights out of the Sault here.

First-year students Sault College will get an extension on withdrawing 

Full-time first year students at Sault College are going to have a different experience this upcoming year as the college extends its withdrawal period, with no financial or academic penalty, to Oct. 9, 2020.

Students who choose to do so will receive a full refund, including their tuition fees and ancillary fees.

Read more here.

Local movie theatre reopens today

Galaxy Cinemas Sault Ste. Marie will open its doors to movie-goers this Friday with reduced capacity and safety measures in place. 

Sarah Van Lange, executive director of communications, community and social media for Cineplex Inc., tells SooToday that bookings for reserved seating - with physical distancing measures in place - can be completed online at the Cineplex website.      

Read more here.

Public Library to reopen on Monday

Attention book worms and reading enthusiasts – the Sault Ste. Marie Public Library will be reopening to the public starting Monday. 

As part of a staged reopening, the James L. McIntyre Centennial Library will be open Monday to Friday from 1 to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Due to physical distancing, only 35 people will be allowed in at a time, and seating is limited.

Read more details here.

Most 2020 Downtown Association events cancelled

Many of the much-loved downtown summer activities organized by the Downtown Association (DTA) were cancelled, including the popular street parties, due to the pandemic.

The association isn’t ruling out a few events still scheduled for later in the year.

The association is still evaluating if a few of their planned events might still be able to take place with the appropriate social distancing protocols.

Read more here.