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Blind River LTC residents in quarantine after worker tests positive for COVID
A long-term care (LTC) worker at the North Shore Health Network Blind River site has tested positive for COVID-19. The worker, who was tested as part of ongoing proactive surveillance, is self isolating at home while all LTC residents have been placed in quarantine. The announcement was made by the hospital on April 9 after Algoma Public Health (APH) reported four new cases in the Algoma region including three from Sault Ste. Marie and one from Central and East Algoma. The latest cases brings the tally to 17 new cases in the district since Monday with the majority from Sault Ste. Marie and area. In collaboration with NSHN, the health unit has conducted contact tracing and has notified all close contacts directly. If you are not contacted directly by Algoma Public Health, you are not considered a close contact. As of April 9, there are 30 active cases in Algoma including one hospitalization. A total of 228 out of 258 cases have been resolved and that number includes four deaths. A total of 48 cases have been in Central and East Algoma while 17 have come from Elliot Lake and area.
Police Briefs April 8
Access to East Algoma OPP detachments restricted during lockdown – Appointments required The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is taking action to help reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 by restricting the access to its facilities, including detachments, across the province. The OPP is limiting the processing of routine criminal record checks/vulnerable sector checks and finger printing to essential workers/volunteers only. Anyone seeking entry to OPP Blind River, Thessalon and Elliot Lake detachments must make an appointment first. Individuals will be pre-screened and are required to have proper personal protective equipment prior to entering the detachment. If you require any detachment-based service, including criminal record checks and vulnerable sector checks, please call 705-356-2244 for Blind River, 705-848-6975 for Elliot Lake and 705-842-3244 for Thessalon in advance for an appointment. Our operating hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. For emergencies, please call 9-1-1. For all other police matters, please call 1-888-310-1122 or your local detachment. Report online by visiting opp.ca/reporting. The OPP thanks the public for helping us to keep our communities safe by using the means listed above to avoid unnecessary contact.
St. Joseph’s Hospital expresses appreciation to Cameco for donation to CT scanner
St. Joseph’s General Hospital and the St. Joseph’s Foundation expressed their appreciation to Cameco and its Blind River operations staff on Thursday, March 25 for their major contribution. The hospital and foundation expressed their appreciation with a commemorative plaque on this 12-foot long Donor Recognition Wall in the hospital. Cameco and its employees donated $90,000 to the St. Joseph’s Foundation’s CT scanner fund. One-third of the donation came directly from Cameco’s employees, $30,000, through the company’s payroll deduction program, with the balance of $60,000 coming from Cameco itself. Terry Davis, plant manager of Cameco’s Blind River operations, says in some years when the employees make their selection for the donation, the company matches it. Last year, Cameco doubled the employees’ donation. Cameco and its employees have been making donations to community projects and regional organizations for a number of years. “We try to chose projects that make a difference in the community, and this one’s an excellent example. It makes a big difference for the region. The employees had no problem contributing to that,” explains Karin Pilon, Cameco’s support services administrator. She adds that the employee participation in the donations is usually 75% to 80%. “We try to make a difference,” expresses Davis. This was not Cameco’s first time making a contribution to the St. Joseph’s Foundation and St. Joseph’s General Hospital for needed equipment. It has done so a couple of times in the past. Jeremy Stevenson, St. Joseph’s General Hospital’s CEO, says they appreciate Cameco’s contribution. The plaque was unveiled later that day, but without a crowd of people for safety reasons. Cameco has made contributions to other organizations and projects in Blind River and the region over the years. It holds Cameco Cares Day, in which the company’s employees do a day’s work in the community and they are paid by Cameco. Cameco also assists with school graduations, other educational programs, Easter egg hunts and more. Groups seeking funds from the Cameco employees make presentations to them. The employees then vote on which they believe would best serve the community and/or the region. That is what members of the St. Joseph’s Foundation did, says William Elliott, chair of the foundation. The CT scanner was a major benefit to the people of the region. Elliott said that in the past area residents made up to 2,200 trips out of the region for CT scans per year, which were done in either Sudbury or Sault Ste. Marie. “So, anything we can do to eliminate that is good,” says Elliott. The CT scanner project cost $1.8 million, which included the cost of the CT scanner and the renovations needed in the hospital to accommodate the device.
Massey Agricultural Society holds Easter gift giveaway for children
In past years the Township of Sables Spanish Rivers has held an Easter egg hunt for area children. This year because of COVID-19 the egg hunt where the children gathered and searched for eggs and socialized was definitely out of the question. But according to Brian Channon, president of the Agricultural Society, “COVID cannot keep the Easter Bunny from his rounds in the Township of Sables Spanish Rivers.” Channon and his cohorts, along with many locals who volunteered, put an event together that carried on the Massey tradition of treating the children to a visit from the Easter Bunny. According to Channon the event went on “without a hitch.” Easter treats were purchased and the loot bags were delivered to children in the area by 10 volunteers. Children registered for this giveaway in the week prior to Easter. One hundred and fifty registrations were received. “Wendy Salo and Samantha Salo did the shopping for the goods, as well as loaded the bags with goodies. They travelled as far as Elliot Lake to procure goods,” said Channon. The township provided $600 to put toward the purchase while the agricultural society picked up the rest of the costs. On Easter Saturday, 150 very excited children received their loot bags containing enough chocolate and candies to last them a whole week. Young children received a stuffed rabbit, chick or similar toy as well. “Ten volunteers delivered the bags to different areas within the township, leaving from the Massey Fairgrounds. Each was accompanied by at least one family member. Some of these were high school students doing their community service hours. Some children were waiting for the Easter Bunny helpers, appropriately wearing rabbit ears, tails and bow ties. Others were taken totally by surprise,” Channon said. “Everyone is waiting for next year when we can all get together, hunt down treats and socialize.”
COVID-19 cases climb by 13 in Algoma
New cases of COVID-19 rose by 13 in the Algoma district in the last week and variants of concern have been identified. Algoma Public Health (APH) announced a new case in Elliot Lake and area on March 30. Case 229 is the result of close contact and is self-isolating. On March 31, APH announced that they had received laboratory screening results that showed evidence of variants of concern (VOCs) circulating in Algoma. Three recent case, including two from Sault Ste. Marie and area and one from Elliot Lake and area, have screened positive for VOCs, but the specific strains is not available at this time pending additional laboratory information. Variants of concern (VOCs) are new strains of the COVID-19 virus that have changed or mutated. VOCs can spread more easily, and some can also cause more severe disease. The health unit advises that all public health measures to prevent COVID-19 transmission continue to apply to the new variants, and they must be applied very rigorously, due to the higher risk of transmission. On April 1, APH reported five new cases of COVID-19, all from Sault Ste. Marie and area. In addition, APH is advising anyone who visited Tim Hortons in Sault Ste. Marie, located at the corner of Great Northern Road and Third Line (628 Third Line E), either through walk-in or drive-thru on March 25 and 26 from 5:30 a.m. to noon, that there is a potential of low-risk exposure to COVID-19. People who visited this Tim Hortons on the dates/times listed above are asked to self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days from potential exposure, self-isolate immediately if symptoms develop and seek testing if symptoms occur. Case 230 to 234 are all the result of close contact and are self-isolating. On April 2, the health unit reported one new case from Sault Ste. Marie and area. Case 235 is the result of close contact and is self-isolating. Three new cases from Sault Ste. Marie and area were announced on April 3. In addition, Algoma Public Health is working to identify and notify high risk close contacts for a potential exposure at the Algoma Treatment and Remand Centre. Anyone who worked or was at the facility on March 29 from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., March 30 from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., March 31 from 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and April 1 from 2:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. is advised to get testing for COVID-19 immediately. Until test results are available, you and anyone you live with in your household must stay home and self-isolate and call Algoma Public Health for further instructions at 705-942-4646 , ext. 3274. Case 236 is unknown exposure while case 237 and 238 are the result of close contact. All new cases are self-isolating. On April 4, APH reported three new cases from Sault Ste. Marie and area. In addition, the health unit said anyone visiting Pino’s Grocery Store, located at 219 Trunk Road in Sault Ste. Marie, on March 29, 30, 31 and April 1 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. or if you were at the Seniors Centre, located at 619 Bay Street in Sault Ste. Marie, on March 29, 30, 31 and April 1 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. have the potential for a low-risk exposure to COVID-19. Actions to take for potential exposure is to self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days from potential exposure, self-isolate immediately if symptoms develop and seek testing if symptoms occur. Case 239 is unknown exposure while case 240 and 241 are the result of close contact. All three cases are self-isolating. As of April 5, there are 15 active cases in Algoma. A total of 226 out of 241 cases have been resolved and that number includes four deaths.
weather (Elliot Lake)
Chorney-Booth: New Filipino restaurant celebrates nostalgic street food
The word “Amihan” refers to a cool wind that blows through the Philippines during the winter months (think of it as the opposite of a Chinook). Many Filipinos associate the cooler weather of Amihan with the nostalgia and comfort of Christmas, which is what a new group of local restaurateurs had in mind when they chose the name of their new restaurant.