Barrie-area residents list wait times, seniors’ issues among top health-care concerns

More doctors. Reduced wait times. Improved care for seniors. These are the issues identified by Barrie-area residents as the most pressing in the local health-care sector right now, preliminary results from an ongoing public survey being conducted by the show. The survey is being conducted in more than 600 communities across the province, and 7,400 Ontarians have responded so far. Locally, 387 Barrie and Muskoka District-area residents have participated. Twenty-five per cent identified seniors’ health, including home and long-term care, as the top priority for the sector. Another 25 per cent listed reduced wait times as being of the highest urgency, while 20 per cent relayed the need for more doctors as the greatest need. Residents were also asked for input on the “single most important thing that can be done to improve health-care services in your community today,” to which 41 per cent mentioned investment to improve access to hospitals, clinics and medical facilities. Twenty-seven per cent want easier access to doctors’ appointments, Dr. Sohal Goyal, chair of the association’s local district, said. “These findings are incredibly important in helping us develop a plan to improve health care and create a more integrated and sustainable system for all Ontarians,” Goyal said. “This is a huge province, and health-care priorities here can be very different from those in other regions like Toronto. By completing this public surv […]

Read More

Ontario reports 650 new COVID cases and nearly 200 in hospital, the most since Step 3 reopening

Ontario is reporting another 650 cases and two more deaths, released Friday morning. Ontario has administered 45,748 , with 20,386,811 vaccines given in total as of 8 p.m. the previous night. According to the, 10,686,526 people in Ontario have received at least one shot. That works out to approximately 82.0 per cent of the eligible population 12 years and older, and the equivalent of 71.9 per cent of the total population, including those not yet eligible for the vaccine. The province says 9,700,285 people have completed their vaccinations, which means they’ve had both doses. That works out to approximately 74.4 per cent of the eligible population 12 years and older, and the equivalent of 65.3 per cent of the total population, including those not yet eligible for the vaccine. The province is now including new data that reflects. Ontario is warning that the new process may cause discrepancies between other hospitalization numbers being collected using a different process, and that the data may not match daily COVID-19 case counts. The province’s new data reports 426 COVID-19 cases were confirmed in unvaccinated people, 64 were partially vaccinated, and 103 cases in fully vaccinated people. Again, the province warns the data may not match daily COVID case counts because records with a missing or invalid health card number can’t be linked. The seven-day average is at 518 cases daily, or 24.9 weekly per 100,000. Ontario’s seven-day average for deaths is at […]

Read More

Some Blue Jays fans cry foul over lax COVID-19 rules at Rogers Centre

Baseball fans say they’re glad to be attending live games again, but some of them are questioning the effectiveness of provincial COVID-19 measures governing stadiums like the Rogers Centre. Some Blue Jays fans say social distancing and masking protocols aren’t being well followed at the Rogers Centre during games, creating an opportunity for the more contagious COVID-19 Delta variant to spread. “I probably haven’t been in a crowd that big since COVID — I felt very uncomfortable,” said Tyler Partridge who attended a Blue Jays game two weeks ago with his wife. Partridge said they were not actively screened for COVID-19 symptoms at the gate and that a significant number of people weren’t wearing masks. He was also concerned about the lack of social distancing in his seats, though a Dedicated Blue Jays game day staff are trained to ensure fans are following health and safety protocols. “The Toronto Blue Jays worked closely with all levels of public health to ensure the Rogers Centre reopening plan provides a safe ballpark experience for Blue Jays fans, staff and players,” according to a spokesperson. Other measures include digital game tickets that include details for contact tracing purposes and a Know Before You Go email sent to every attendee 24 hours before the game. Partridge added that in many areas indoors at Rogers Centre, people weren’t maintaining proper social distance. He was also concerned that fans were be […]

Read More

Taking it to the street: How a mobile team bringing COVID-19 vaccines to the Danforth is coaxing the last 20 per cent to get their jabs

Jim Marrelli eyes the small, friendly crew clad in bright green and blue T-shirts pushing two metal carts, one with a large grey YETI cooler, down Danforth Avenue on a sweltering August day. No, he hasn’t had his yet, he tells them. He gets off his bike, dips his hands into a pail filled with soapy water hanging off his handlebars, puts on a mask, and takes a seat on a nearby planter. Yes, he would like to get one now. But first he needs to know, “I’m not a sheep, am I?” As the province tries to avoid a fourth wave and politicians debate requiring vaccines to get into venues like bars and restaurants, all eyes are fixed on the 19 per cent of eligible Ontarians who have not yet had a first dose and what it will take to change their minds. A new mobile street team from Michael Garron Hospital and East Toronto Health Partners, is focused on what many consider the hardest part of the rollout, reaching those last people. They started on July 30 and the plan is to alternate on Monday, Wednesday and Friday along Danforth Avenue, Queen Street East and Gerrard Street, says Shabina Rangarej, Manager of COVID-19 Vaccination Program at Michael Garron Hospital. They bring about 30 doses in a cab from the hospital to Coxwell subway station before heading out to nearby businesses, and usually reach at least 18-20 people a day. “We came out of the gate running and that was great but now it’s slow and steady,” says Rangarej of the rollout. “Slow […]

Read More

Ontario to rollout COVID-19 vaccine clinics in schools

With a fourth pandemic wave underway in Ontario — on the heels of schools reopening for a new academic year — the province has announced it will host COVID-19 vaccine clinics at or near schools this September.  The Government of Ontario said it will work with public health units and school boards to rollout vaccine clinics in the days leading up to the start of the school year, continuing for the first few weeks of school. The clinics will operate either at schools or at off-site locations nearby, and may operate before, during, or after school hours.  Clinics will target youth over age 12, their families, and education staff who have not received a first or second dose.  “As part of the last mile campaign to reach as many students and staff as possible and to keep schools as safe as possible, we are requiring school boards and public health units to roll out clinics in or close to schools,” Minister of Education Stephen Lecce said in a media release announcing the rollout. “By making vaccines more accessible, and with a cautious reopening in September following the expert advice of the chief medical officer of health, we will further bolster our fight against COVID-19 and variants.” As of Aug. 15, more than 69 per cent of youth ages 12 to 17 have received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 56 per cent have received a second dose. On Aug. 16, the province reported 526 new COVID-19 cases, 67 per cent of which were in unvac […]

Read More

Jewelry found, suspect charged in alleged break and enter: Orillia OPP

Jewelry stolen in an alleged break and enter in Orillia on July 31 has been found and a suspect has been arrested, said Orillia OPP.  A 36-year-old Sarnia man has been charged in connection to the break and enter and stolen jewelry, police said.  Shortly before 11:30 a.m. on July 31, homeowners on Maple Drive in the city’s north-end came home to an unknown man in their house.  The man fled the area and police were unable to located him at the time. The homeowner told police jewelry had been taken, police said.  On Aug. 5, Orillia OPP issued a photo of the jewelry and asked for the public’s help finding it.  On Aug. 7, police announced they had recovered the jewelry and other items related to a break and enter and other crimes in Orillia. Finding the suspect and recovering the jewelry took a few days.  On Aug. 3, OPP officers responded to another break and enter on Forest Avenue in Orillia’s south-end. This homeowner said that sometime within the past week, the garage was broken into and numerous items had been stolen, police said. No suspects were identified at the time. The next morning, through interactions with a man involved in “other incidents” in the Orillia area, police identified the suspect of the first break and enter on Maple Drive, OPP said.  The same day, officers found the man walking near downtown Orillia and arrested him.  The man was searched and numerous stolen items were located, police s […]

Read More

Government funding to help protect Severn Sound and the Great Lakes

The Severn Sound Environmental Association (SSEA) is receiving $50,000 from the Ontario government through the , which has been created to help protect and restore the Great Lakes. The funding was officially announced during a news conference in Tiny Township on Aug. 13. Here are five quotes from the event: 1. “The health of the Great Lakes is closely connected to our province’s health and prosperity — supplying water to our communities, sustaining traditional activities of Indigenous peoples and providing healthy ecosystems for recreation and tourism. This funding allows local organizations and groups to take environmental actions in their own communities — building a better future for clean, green growth.” — David Piccini, environment, conservation and parks minister 2. “Agriculture is a significant part of the landscape of the Severn Sound watershed and, in particular, the rural economy in our member townships. Grants like this one make it possible for farmers and the SSEA to work together to improve soil health and optimize their use of nutrients while protecting ground and surface water.” — Steffen Walma, chair of the SSEA board 3. “This funding allows local organizations like the SSEA to make environmental impacts to protect the group of lakes that makes up Severn Sound. Connecting farming community with soil health experts is essential to improve soil conditions for the future health of Severn Sound.” &m […]

Read More

Will full FDA approval of COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. prompt some Canadian ‘fence-sitters’ to get the shot?

With U.S. officials reportedly poised to approve the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine within weeks, many are hoping this final endorsement could nudge some hesitant people toward the shot. The vaccine is already fully approved by Health Canada. But some experts say the final stamp of approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration may also help convince some Canadians who are on the fence, and even persuade some large institutions to mandate vaccines. “I don’t know if people hear it from movies or commercials that say, ‘This is FDA-approved,’” said Janessa Griffith, a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto and Women’s College Hospital who has studied coronavirus vaccine hesitancy. “But that acronym has kind of become ingrained in us.” The that the FDA has sped up its timetable to fully approve the Pfizer shot, and expects the process to be completed by the start of September. The vaccine is currently authorized for emergency use along with those produced by Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. Griffith recently published research that mined thousands of tweets on COVID vaccines for patterns in hesitancy. The U.S. emergency authorization is one of the first things she sees people mentioning on social media as a reason not to get the shot, even if they have received vaccines for other diseases in the past. “Because we’re so influenced by what happens south of the border, I think it would be a good thing for it to be offic […]

Read More

Georgian College names new dean, human services and community safety, Orillia campus

Georgian College will welcome Mary Louise Noce as its new dean, human services and community safety, at the Orillia campus beginning Sept. 7. “Mary Louise brings more than 16 years of experience in the Ontario post-secondary sector to Georgian,” said Kevin Weaver, vice-president, academic. “Her career is distinguished by progressively responsible leadership roles and a demonstrated commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion.” As director of research equity, diversity, and inclusion initiatives at Sheridan College, Noce led the college’s participation in the national Dimensions pilot ― an initiative of the three federal granting agencies in collaboration with Universities Canada and Colleges and Institutes Canada ― managing and building strategies to integrate EDI practices within the scholarly, research and creative ecosystem. She also launched Sheridan’s inaugural employee self-identification census, led the creation of Foundations of Equitable Practice Training for employees and developed a faculty research mentorship program. Previously, Noce served as associate dean of community studies, where she led the development of Sheridan’s honours bachelor of social and community development degree and advanced program quality enhancements. Most notably, Noce created a quality assurance practice innovation identified by the College Quality Assurance Audit Process as an institutional best practice. This fostered significant community par […]

Read More

POLL: Are you happy a federal election has been called?

Disclaimer: Poll results are not scientific. As the informal findings of a survey presented to the readers of this site, they reflect the opinions of those readers who have chosen to participate. The survey is available online to anyone who is interested in taking it.

Read More