Simcoe Muskoka health unit confirms 85 new COVID-19 cases, plus two deaths
BARRIE, ONT. -- One day after reporting the highest number of COVID-19 cases from a weekend, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) posted 85 new cases Tuesday.
Confirmed cases are listed in Barrie, Bradford, Collingwood, Clearview, Essa, Innisfil, Midland, New Tecumseth, Orillia, Oro-Medonte, Severn, Springwater, Tiny, and Wasaga Beach. One case was reported in the Muskoka area in Gravenhurst. Two locations are pending.
Over the weekend, health officials recorded nearly 400 positive tests, an alarmingly high number linked to Easter holiday gatherings.
The City of Barrie reports bylaw officers received nearly 30 complaints about large gatherings the week of April 3, following the Easter long weekend.
There are currently 1,109 active cases across Simcoe Muskoka, including 43 hospitalizations.
The health unit logged a 46 per cent spike in positive tests for the week of March 28, just before the April long weekend.
Two more people have died with the virus, bringing the region's death count to 212.
The SMDHU has confirmed 8,862 infections since the start of the pandemic.
A staggering 96 per cent of all COVID-19 cases so far this week are confirmed to be variants of concern.
To date, 1,429 cases have tested positive for the UK B.1.1.7 variant. The health unit has identified 18 cases as the P.1 variant, initially from Brazil, and two cases tested positive for the B.1.351 from South Africa. Another 457 cases screened positive for a variant of concern.
Outbreaks continue at W.H. Day Public School and Holy Trinity Catholic High School, both in Bradford and Good Shepherd Catholic School in Barrie. There is also an outbreak at Georgian College in Barrie.
Additional outbreaks are listed at child care centres in Bradford and Alliston, a Barrie retirement home and a New Tecumseth long-term care home.
Local hospitals are cancelling non-emergency surgeries in anticipation of an influx of COVID-19 patients as cases spike. The Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre in Barrie has cancelled 146 surgeries this week, resulting in a surgical backlog of more than 2,500.
Meanwhile, the health unit says nearly 19 per cent of the region's population has received their first dose of the vaccine, while just over three per cent have had their second shot.
Simcoe Muskoka residents 60 and older are eligible to book an appointment to receive the vaccine through Ontario's online booking system.
A complete list of qualifying residents, plus information on the SMDHU's vaccination program, is available here.