Algoma Public Health announces four COVID-related deaths, will implement further restrictions
Algoma Public Health announced four COVID-related deaths Tuesday, and said it will implement further restrictions this week.
In addition to the deaths -- bringing the area's total to 14 fatalities since the beginning of the pandemic -- the health unit announced another 23 new cases Tuesday evening.
The medical officer of health for Algoma Public Health said in an interview that it would be announcing more restrictions later this week, to keep up with the highest rate of infection per 100,000 people in northeastern Ontario.
"They may come in the form of additional limits on gathering sizes," said Dr. Jennifer Loo. "We are also working very closely with our schools and other partners to look at better ways we can protect that younger population, as well."
As of Tuesday, the number of active COVID-19 cases in Algoma are more than 280, with 17 people hospitalized.
Sault Mayor Christian Provenzano said he's especially concerned by the trend, given that the region once had the lowest rate of infection in Ontario.
"Each of us need to get our individual contacts down and if we get our individual contacts down, we'll bring our collective cases down," Provenzano said.
He said he spoke with Loo and expressed his support, should the health unit decide further restrictions for the area are needed.
He's also encouraged by the fact that children aged 5-11 are now eligible to receive their vaccines.
"We will certainly be making sure my oldest daughter gets her vaccine," Provenzano said. "I think that will help keep kids in school safer."
On Nov. 30, vaccinated Canadians will be able to travel across the border for trips under 72 hours without needing a COVID-19 test to return home.
But with COVID-19 rates of infection throughout parts of northern Michigan similar or higher to that of Algoma, both the mayor and health unit are advising against travel.
"Unfortunately, vaccination rates are not as high over there compared to here," said Loo. "In many cases, the rules and the precautions that we're taking here may not be in place."
Loo advises extra diligence and to follow the same rules as if you were at home, should you decide on travelling into the U.S.