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COVID-19: Here's the situation in the Sault today

Algoma region will enter Stage 3 of the province's reopening framework on Friday

As Ontario Premier Doug Ford gives the green light for majority of the province to enter Stage 3 on Friday, Public Health Ontario is reporting 116 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 today.

This marks a drop compared to Sunday's 129 reported cases and Saturday's 130 reported cases.

As of today's Public Health Ontario report, there are 1,454 active cases of COVID-19 in the province.

Here in the Sault, Algoma Public Health (APH) reported another new case of the novel coronavirus on Thursday evening, bringing the region's total to 25. The new case is currently the only active case that the health unit is aware of.

There are currently over 1,000 pending cases in Algoma.

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

Saultites will have to mask up as of Friday

If you weren't already wearing a mask in public indoor spaces, you've got until Friday to get used to it.

Algoma Public Health made the announcement late Friday afternoon instructing Algoma residents to begin wearing masks in all indoor premises of businesses, organizations and on public transit as of July 17.

The rule covers all of Algoma and applies to businesses, organizations and public transit.

Read the full order here.

Most of the province, including Algoma region, to enter Phase 3 of reopening on Friday

Premier Doug Ford has announced that 24 regions will enter Stage 3 on Friday July 17 at 12:01 a.m.

New limits will allow up to 100 people outdoors and up to 50 people indoors.

Public gathering limits apply to indoor and outdoor events, such as community events or gatherings, concerts, live shows, festivals, conferences, sports and recreational fitness activities, fundraisers, fairs, festivals or open houses. A two metre distance must still be maintained at such events.

To read more about what will be reopened in Phase 3 and what restrictions will be in place, click here.

25th COVID-19 case reported in Algoma region on Thursday

Thursday evening, APH confirmed the area's 25th case of COVID-19.

APH stated that close contacts have been informed, and the person is currently self-isolating. 

Exposure category is unknown, indicating that community spread is still evident in the Sault and area.

Here are the latest COVID-19 numbers from Algoma Public Health, updated at 9:00 a.m. on Monday: 

  • 15,839 tested
  • 25 positive
  • 14,569 negative
  • 1,245 pending
  • 0 deceased
  • 24 resolved

Total confirmed cases by area of residence: 

  • 20 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

Masks mandatory in Michigan as of today

People living in Michigan will be required to wear a face covering in indoor public spaces and crowded outdoor spaces as of today.

The executive order signed by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer Friday will also require businesses to refuse entry or service to people who refuse to wear a face covering. 

Feds to extend wage subsidy program until December

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced today that his government would extend the wage subsidy program to support businesses during COVID-19.

The program, which covers 75 per cent of wages for eligible businesses across the country, was initially launched in April. It has previously been extended to run through the summer, but has been extended further until December.

Watch Trudeau's full press conference here.

Sault City Council to vote on supporting border closure

Sault Ste. Marie City Council will be asked at tonight's council meeting to vote on supporting the federal government's decision to close the Canada/U.S. border, at least until the U.S. spread of COVID-19 is comparable to its growth in our country.

Read the full text of a resolution placed on the agenda of Monday's City Council meeting by Ward 5 Coun. Corey Gardi and Ward 1's Sandra Hollingsworth here.

Return to campus a daunting prospect for Canadian LSSU student

Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario students are facing a heavy decision as to whether or not to attend the fall semester at Lake Superior State University in Sault, Michigan.

The semester is slated to start on Aug. 10, and students have been informed that roughly 80 per cent of course content will be delivered via face-to-face instruction this semester.

Read the full story by James Hopkin here.

PUC offers one-time credit to help anyone behind on their bill due to COVID-19

As part of financial support from the provincial government, PUC is offering a one-time, on-bill credit for eligible residential electricity and natural gas customers who are behind on their bill due to COVID-19. 

Anyone who meets the criteria listed in this press release can apply for this credit starting today.

Genetic detecctives begin work on tracing COVID-19 spread

Medical researchers are using supercomputers to turn genetics labs into detective agencies and starting the work to figure out how almost every COVID-19 case in Canada arose.

Andrew McArthur, director of the biomedical discovery and commercialization program at McMaster University, says his group will make a big push over the next month to compare the genetic material from versions of novel coronavirus isolated from blood samples of thousands of Canadians.

Read more about work by researchers here.