Skip to content

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

One new case of COVID-19 reported in Algoma this week

New COVID-19 cases ranged between a low of 1,210 and a high of 1,487 this week.

Ontario reached a grim milestone this week, with more than 100,000 cases of COVID-19 confirmed since January.

According to Canada's top docs, modelling suggests the country is careening towards a surge of more than 20,000 cases day by the end of December, but could hit 60,000 if socialization increases.

As deaths continue to climb in Ontario's long-term care homes, Premier Doug Ford has pledged increased testing and faster turnaround times for the results to get at the 'root cause' of rising infection rates.

Last week, the province launched a new COVID-19 response framework. All but one of the Northern Ontario health units are in the green (prevent) zone, which means these health units have a weekly rate of less than 10 cases per 100,000 people and  a positivity rate of less than one per cent. Read more about how the new framework operates here.

This week, the province also launched a COVID-19 inspection blitz in 'strategic locations' across the province in order to ensure businesses are following proper COVID-19 health and safety requirements.

Additionally, emergency orders have been extended in Ontario until Dec. 21.

In response to steady COVID-19 numbers, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the Canada-U.S. border closure has been extended by another 30 days.

Despite high numbers of COVID-19, Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's Chief Medical Officer, has reported that Canada has an extraordinarily low number of influenza cases, despite a higher than normal testing rate.

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

One new case of COVID-19 reported by Algoma Public Health this week

On Sunday, Algoma Public Health reported a new case of COVID-19 in the region. The exposure category is close contact.

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

Here are the latest COVID-19 numbers from Algoma Public Health, updated on Friday at 11:00 a.m.: 

  • 59,796 tested
  • 58 confirmed 
  • 1 active case
  • 57 resolved
  • 0 deceased

Total confirmed cases by area of residence: 

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

Development of COVID-19 vaccine progresses, race for rapid tests continues

For the second time this month, there's promising news from a COVID-19 vaccine candidate: Moderna said Monday its shots provide strong protection, a dash of hope against the grim backdrop of coronavirus surges around the world.

Ontario's Health Minister Christine Elliott has stated millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccines will be delivered early in the new year. She said 1.6 million doses of the Pfizer and 800,000 of the Moderna vaccines are destined for Ontario.

Ontario government considered extending winter break due to COVID-19 after the holidays

Education Minister Stephen Lecce said on Tuesday he's talking to health officials and "looking at solutions that may include some period out of class" at the beginning of January.

On Wednesday, however, Lecce said Ontario students won't have a longer winter break after all. He said the government consulted with the province's top doctor and its public health measures table before making the decision. 

New plan allows for return of international students to Sault College

After lower than normal student enrolment numbers this fall session, Sault College announced approval of its COVID-19 Readiness Plan by the provincial and federal governments.

The plan will permit the college to accept eligible international students currently residing outside Canada. Details of the plan have been shared with Algoma Public Health. Read more details on the plan here.

Algoma U continues with Brampton campus vision, despite COVID-19

Though the COVID-19 pandemic has led to shifting all current course offerings to remote delivery, Algoma is striving to expand facilities and staffing to meet current and future growth needs. New labs are being scheduled for completion in January.

Read more from SooToday's Darren Taylor here.

COVID-19 concerns postpone Thunderbirds' games last weekend 

The Soo Thunderbirds were expecting to open up regular season this past Saturday night at home.

However, three players from the Blind River Beavers were exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms early last this week and while results were pending, their weekend games against the Soo Thunderbirds were postponed.

Northern Arts Academy survives COVID-19 restrictions with remote instruction

The Northern Arts Academy has found a way to carry on teaching students the performing arts despite COVID-19.

Paul Dingle, a pianist and piano teacher, and his wife Agnes McCarthy, a voice instructor and choir director, have been teaching students remotely via Zoom.

Learn more about how faculty and students have risen to the challenges of remote learning here.

Builders' Bash goes virtual to make a difference for Habitat

The Builders' Bash has become a staple fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity Sault Ste. Marie & Area and on this, the fifth year of the event, COVID-19 has changed the way it will look.

The event takes place on Nov. 27, but preparations begin in the evening of Nov. 26 with the start of the 24-hour auction hosted on the Habitat for Humanity Sault Ste. Marie and Area Facebook page.

Learn more about this year's event here.

Library's North Branch reopens after months of shuttered doors to coronavirus

As of Wednesday, the Sault Ste. Marie Public Library reopened the doors of its 232 Northern Ave. (North Branch) location. Due to COVID-19, a number of library services are still suspended. More details on what is available and what isn't can be found here.

Salvation Army pleads for public help as COVID-19 increases need

This year, with COVID-19 having affected so many people’s lives, the Salvation Army desperately needs volunteers to step up and participate in its annual Christmas Kettle Campaign.

Army Major Sean Furey told SooToday that the number of people in need has never been higher, but volunteers are weary due to risk of COVID-19 transmission. As the organization gears up for a very busy Christmas season, it is calling upon the community to help in any way they can.

Second wave of COVID-19 dips business confidence in economy to lowest level since 2011, Ontario Chamber says

The Ontario Chamber released new survey data last week, suggesting that the second wave of COVID-19 is taking its toll on businesses. The data was collected from Oct. 8 to Nov. 3 from 134 local chambers and boards of trade. 

In October, only 20 percent of survey respondents expressed confidence in Ontario’s economic outlook, down two percentage points from September, and dipping to its lowest level since the chamber began measuring business confidence in 2011. By contrast, 45 percent said they lacked confidence.

Meanwhile, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce chief economist Trevin Stratton has said the outlook for business owners is grim, and is calling for sector-specific support to help the hospitality and arts and entertainment industries.

The big picture for sports during COVID-19

Canada's deputy chief of public health says the initial health and safety protocols proposed for the upcoming word junior hockey championship in Edmonton look "promising."

Dr. Howard Njoo said the "bubble" concept planned for the event, where players and team staff are isolated from the general public and fans are not permitted to attend games in an effort to stem the spread of COVID-19, has seen proven success in the NHL and NBA.

In terms of the NBA, it was announced today that the Toronto Raptors won't start the season in their home city, after being unable to come to an agreement with various levels of government to play at Scotiabank Arena during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, the NFL is placing all teams in intensive protocol starting Saturday to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 as the number of cases rises around the country.

Northern Ontario municipalities' annual conference goes virtual

The Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM) announced Nov. 17 that its annual conference will be held online in 2021.

The 2020 conference was slated to be held in Timmins back in May but was cancelled because of the pandemic.

Timmins will host the virtual event. Read more here.