Simcoe Muskoka logs fewer COVID-19 cases, but health officials warn third wave isn't over
BARRIE, ONT. -- The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) reports the lowest number of COVID-19 cases in weeks on Tuesday.
Dr. Charles Gardner, the region's top doctor, said it's too early to know whether the worst of the third wave of infections is behind us.
"Testing is slightly down, and the percent positivity rate is slightly up, so we need to be cautious of whether or not it has truly come down," he notes.
The health unit logged 66 new infections, plus the death of a Simcoe County woman in her 80s due to the virus.
According to the health unit, there have been a total of four COVID-19 death in the past week, three Simcoe County residents and one Muskoka resident.
There have been 20 virus-related deaths in Simcoe Muskoka this month so far compared to 12 in March. The region's death toll is now at 222.
The weekend case count was close to 300, according to the health unit
There are currently 1,331 active cases, including 52 hospitalizations - 13 patients are in the intensive care unit.
The majority of COVID-19 cases listed Tuesday are from the Barrie and South Simcoe area, with Bradford reporting 26 new infections and Barrie 14.
Creedon Valley Care Community in Creemore and Muskoka Shores Care Community in Gravenhurst are the latest long-term care homes to have an outbreak declared. The health unit reports 27 total outbreaks in the region.
To date, the SMDHU reports 2,416 cases identified as the COVID-19 variant of concern UK B.1.1.7. The P.1 variant of concern (Brazil) remains unchanged at 29, but the B.1.351 variant of concern (South Africa) has increased by three infections to five. An additional 638 cases have screened positive for variants and are awaiting confirmatory testing to determine which type.
An additional 15,800 vaccines have been administered in Simcoe Muskoka, including doses administered by local pharmacies since Monday.
Gardner said case counts would have to come down significantly before restrictions ease. "The rates are very high provincially, and I would caution it's going to be really weeks before we've got this under proper control."
With files from CTV's Kim Phillips and Mike Arsalides