COVID-19 outbreaks impact Barrie schools, hockey teams, seniors' homes
BARRIE, ONT. -- The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) reports 29 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, for a total of 104 since Sunday.
The health unit's top doc said there is a concerning trend with infection rates within households.
"Since September, we have observed a substantial increase in household clusters of COVID-19 cases, and in each cluster, every person in the household has been infected," said Dr. Charles Gardner, SMDHU medical officer of health.
The health unit has recorded approximately 40 households with clusters of the infection, affecting about 100 people since the start of November.
"We are on track for much higher disease levels unless we take more action to curb its spread, and that includes actions as individuals within our work, social and household settings," Gardner added.
Today's numbers show active infections in Barrie, New Tecumseth, Bradford, Innisfil, Adjala-Tosorontio, Georgian Bay, and Springwater.
Fifteen people who tested positive for the virus are in the hospital, including two who are in the ICU. To date, 52 people, mainly seniors, have died with COVID-19.
Gardner advises Simcoe Muskoka residents to limit close contact to people you live with and stay home as much as possible.
"This pandemic has been extremely challenging for all us, and I know that the additional actions I am asking for are difficult, particularly as we approach the holiday season," Gardner said.
"However, the only way we are going to slow the spread of COVID-19, which will allow us to keep our communities safe and healthy and our schools, organizations and businesses open, is through our own actions as individuals and as a society," he concluded.
Simcoe Muskoka shifted to the orange COVID-19 restriction zone on the province's colour-coded COVID-19 response framework on Monday. This means enhanced measures, restrictions and enforcement, but no closures.
Gardner advised residents from grey zone hot spots, Toronto and Peel Region, not to head north to Simcoe Muskoka.
"If you come here, and you meet with others, there's the potential for you becoming a case, they becoming a case. There's the potential for transmission for people who actually live here, so I'm urging you not to do that," he said.
The health unit confirmed a COVID-19 outbreak in four Simcoe County schools, two in Barrie and two in Angus.
And the SMDHU reported an outbreak among a Barrie youth hockey team, the first of its kind in Simcoe Muskoka. The outbreak is still being investigated.
The health unit also confirms the first of its kind outbreak in a AAA minor hockey team in Barrie with 18 players in isolation. The health unit declaring other teams are at low risk of infection.
The teams have been practicing only because of the pandemic, no games have been played.