Simcoe Muskoka health unit confirms 11 new UK variant cases
BARRIE, ONT. -- The Simcoe Muskoka health unit reports 11 new UK B.1.1.7 variant cases Thursday. An additional 382 had screened positive for a variant of concern (VoC) - 15 more than the day prior.
The individuals who screened positive for a VoC will need further testing to confirm.
The variant case numbers were the driving point behind the region's chief medical officer of health advising the province to return Simcoe Muskoka to a lockdown last week.
Dr. Charles Gardner had said he believed tightening restrictions would help reduce transmission of the highly contagious virus.
To date, 216 local individuals have tested positive for the UK B.1.1.7 variant. The health unit has not provided details on the locations of those cases. There are currently seven active UK B.1.1.7 cases in Simcoe Muskoka.
On Thursday, the health unit listed 35 new COVID-19 cases. The City of Barrie leads the way for a second day, with 18 positive tests. The remaining cases are listed in Innisfil, Bradford, Penetanguishene, Severn, New Tecumseth, Gravenhurst, Tay Tiny, and Orillia.
There have been no new deaths in the region related to the virus, leaving the death toll at 189.
There are three active school outbreaks at Holy Trinity Catholic High School in Bradford; St. Theresa's Catholic School in Midland, and Maple Grove Public School in Barrie. Several other schools have at least a single COVID-19 case confirmed.
An outbreak in a unit at the Central North Correctional Centre in Penetanguishene is linked to at least 14 infections.
Meanwhile, the health unit reports 45,199 doses of the vaccine have been given to those deemed high-priority.
The health unit says appointments and the waitlist to receive the booster shot are fully booked up to and including March 16.
It says that they will contact anyone on the waitlist with an appointment date between March 10 and 16.
Thirteen vaccination clinics opened across the region this week and will operate seven days a week.
Health officials hope to have at least 75 per cent of the region immunized with both doses by the end of August.