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Sudbury moved to Grey-Lockdown as phase 2 vaccination starts at some pharmacies

Thursday, March 11, 2021 @ 4:25 PM | By John Schofield

Spurred by a sudden surge in new COVID-19 cases, Ontario is using its so-called emergency brake to move the Sudbury area back to the Grey-Lockdown level of public health restrictions.

According to a March 11 government news release, the Public Health Sudbury and Districts region will move into Grey-Lockdown effective March 12, at 12:01 a.m.

The government’s modified, colour-coded COVID-19 response framework, which now encompasses the entire province, allows most retail stores to open with 25 per cent customer capacity, masking and social distancing. However, gyms and personal care services such as hair salons must be closed.

Meanwhile, the government announced March 10 that, as of March 12, more than 325 pharmacies in Toronto, Windsor-Essex, and the Kingston area will start offering the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine to eligible Ontarians aged 60 to 64 by appointment only. The vaccine rollout will be expanded to pharmacies in other regions of the province as supply increases, the release said.

As of March 10, primary care providers in in Hamilton, Toronto, Guelph, Peterborough, Simcoe-Muskoka and Peel also began contacting eligible patients aged 60 to 64 directly to book an appointment to receive the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccine.

In the Sudbury area, the region’s case rate increased by 54.1 per cent from March 3 to 9 to 75.9 cases per 100,000 people, the government reported.

"We have seen a rapid rise in the case rate in the Sudbury area, and swift action is needed to protect individuals, families and businesses and save lives,” Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott said in the news release.

According to the government news release, phase 1 of Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout is nearing completion, with nearly one million doses administered and over 279,000 Ontarians fully immunized. Approximately 88 per cent of long-term care residents are fully immunized and public health units continue to prioritize vaccinating staff and essential caregivers.

In a March 11 news release, however, the Official Opposition NDP criticized the government for neglecting the Thunder Bay area by not sending vaccines there, even though the area has the highest per capita COVID-19 case count in the province.

“Thunder Bay has been under a state of emergency for weeks,” said Judith Monteith-Farrell, NDP MPP for Thunder Bay-Atikokan.

“We have per capita more than double the new cases of COVID-19 than anywhere else in Ontario,” she added. “Yet the Ford government has chosen to ignore Thunder Bay. We are the only place in Ontario where the schools are closed. Our loved ones and neighbours are at risk, and we need more help.”

The government is urging Ontarians to continue staying home, to avoid gathering with individuals outside their household and to only leave the house or travel outside their region for essential purposes.

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