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Simcoe Muskoka logs 52 new COVID-19 cases, schools to send PCR test kits home

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Barrie, Ont. -

The Simcoe Muskoka health unit reported a slight drop in COVID-19 cases on Thursday, with 52 new infections.

The health unit lists the new cases in Barrie (29), Penetanguishene (4), Clearview (3), Severn (2), Tay (2), Bradford (2), Bracebridge, Collingwood, Essa, Innisfil, Midland, New Tecumseth, Orillia, Springwater, and Tiny. One location was posted as pending.

There are 425 active COVID-19 cases in the region, including 23 hospitalizations, four more than reported on Wednesday.

The health unit has declared 23 outbreaks at facilities across the region, including two institutional settings, two community settings, and three congregate settings.

RAPID TEST KITS FOR STUDENTS

The province announced it would distribute 11 million rapid COVID-19 test kits to publicly-funded schools to be sent home with students for use over the winter break.

"We are very pleased to hear the announcement today regarding testing options for families," said Dawn Stephens, Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB) associate director.

The SCDSB said the plan also includes roughly 5,000 PCR nasal swab kits to allow families to screen for the virus at home.

Stephens noted that families need to continue screening students for symptoms with a growing number of children becoming infected.

"During the winter months, parents should consider sending more than one mask to school, multiple masks so that students can change them when they become wet and soiled is also appreciated," she added.

There are 16 active school outbreaks in Simcoe Muskoka at public, Catholic and private facilities.

With files from CTV's Mike Arsalides

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