'I just couldn't believe it,' Friends shocked by vaccinated Oro-Medonte man's death
The death of an Oro-Medonte man who became infected with COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated sent shock waves among those who knew him.
"When I heard it, I just couldn't believe it," said Craig Adlam.
Garry Weston, 75, likely contracted the virus while playing hockey in Adlam's Newmarket men's league one month ago.
Adlam said he and Weston had been friends for 41 years, so when Weston texted him about having the sniffles, his longtime friend didn't think much of it.
"I wrote him a text back and said, you're strong, Garry, you've battled everything your whole life. You're going to get through this," Adlam recalled.
Players in Adlam's league started falling ill on Oct. 5. York Region Public Health was notified about the situation.
In all, 15 players tested positive.
Weston returned to the sport he loved, became infected, and suffered a stroke while battling pneumonia brought on by COVID-19.
"The guys go play hockey after 19 months off, figure oh, everything is good, and the first night, four, five guys get it," Adlam said.
York Region's acting medical officer of health believes one of the players had an infection while playing and it spread to multiple others.
BREAKTHROUGH CASES ON THE RISE
Simcoe Muskoka's associate medical officer of health cautions that while the shot is "very effective," it's not 100 per cent effective.
As more breakthrough cases are reported, health experts encourage residents to continue practicing health measures, like masking, hand washing, and keeping a safe distance, with 82 per cent of eligible Simcoe Muskoka residents now fully vaccinated.
Dr. Colin Lee said tragic cases, such as Weston's, are rare among those double vaccinated, but older people are more susceptible to complications.
Meanwhile, the province continues to ease restrictions as more people get double dosed.
Capacity limits started lifting at recreational centres and outdoor facilities across the region.
Dr. Lee assures residents that the "vast majority of the time, it's going to be very, very safe."
"But, on the rare occasion, if you're older, if you're immune-compromised, your risk of being infected, despite being immunized, is greater," he added.
Adlam said about half a dozen players in his hockey league have now bowed out as everyone grieves the loss of their friend.
"He was always the life of the party," Adlam said of Weston. "He was the elder statesman of this league, and we all looked up to him."