Health unit confirms two more schools have positive cases in the region
BARRIE -- Students have been in class for less than two weeks, but already the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has confirmed four schools in the region have at least one person testing positive for the COVID virus.
On Monday, the health unit confirmed Bear Creek Secondary in Barrie and Father F.X. O'Reilly Catholic School in Tottenham were added to the list, joining Twin Lakes Secondary School in Orillia and St. John Vianney Catholic School in Barrie.
The positive tests include two staff and two students, according to the health unit.
Dr. Colin Lee, Associate Medical Officer of Health, says about 100 people are at home in quarantine, including the entire class at St. John Vianney, ensuring no one else is infected.
"The good news is that it looks like all the cases acquired, their infections were not at school, but largely from their households because there's other people ill with COVID."
Last week the region saw more than 60 confirmed cases, which Dr. Lee says is the second-highest number of infections in one week since the pandemic was declared.
He says there have been more than 20,000 tests done daily for a while, and "it is only now that we see the cases double, triple, so this is a real increase in the number of people with COVID, and that community transmission is occurring where you just don't know if the next person has or hasn't COVID."
This past weekend, drive-thru testing areas, including Soldiers Memorial in Orillia and the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH), were lined up with people wanting to get tested, some waiting more than three hours.
He says right now, many of those getting tested are without symptoms, making it harder for others with symptoms to get tested.
Since Friday, the health unit has confirmed 15 new cases, bringing the region's total to 816.
"It doesn't matter if it's the second wave or not, but this is certainly a great increase," says Dr. Lee.
"I would say it's a second wave unless we have proven otherwise. We only really know it's a second wave after it has occurred and ended, but no matter what it is, this is a big increase, we need to take it seriously now."