SUDBURY -- A year ago, northeastern Ontario saw its first case of COVID-19; a year later, cases are surging again.

Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, Sudbury’s medical officer of health confirmed the first diagnosis in Sudbury on March 10, 2020. Stewart Hamilton of Sudbury said he was diagnosed after attending a work conference in Toronto a few days earlier.

“It was quite ironic, because I was the only person I knew who was actually worried about it,” said Hamilton. “Now the therapeutics, and the treatments are so much better than they were at the beginning, because they really didn’t know how to treat this thing.”

March 11 marks one year since the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic. Dr. Alain Simard, of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, said he’s not surprised the pandemic has lasted this long.

“We would’ve had to have a complete shutdown to get rid of this virus,” said Simard. “Because of that, I’m not surprised the virus is still around and chances are, we are going to be living with this virus for quite some time still.”

Simard said although the vaccine rollout in Canada has been slow, it is positive news that more shots are getting into people's arms.

He said people in Sudbury should stick to public health guidelines and added cases in the city should start to decline.

“Another week or two if everybody observes the recommendations from Public Health,” Simard said.

“Hopefully we will see those cases back down. Then if we can get the vaccination rate up, we can potentially start talking about easing some restrictions.”