Simcoe Muskoka logs fewer than 100 COVID-19 cases for first time in a week
BARRIE, ONT. -- The Simcoe Muskoka health unit reports a dip in new COVID-19 cases, with 87 infections confirmed after one week of counts over 100.
Simcoe County's positivity rate also dropped below the province's for the first time in over a month. With 250 new COVID-19 tests per 10,000 population, the health unit records its positivity rate fell to 5.3 per cent compared to Ontario's 7.9 per cent.
Health officials report 43 residents are in the hospital with the virus. There have been no new deaths associated with COVID-19 since Monday.
The drop in new cases comes as hospitals report record numbers of ICU admissions in April. Hospital officials urge residents to follow safety measures to prevent transmission of COVID-19.
"I would really encourage people to listen, to follow the directives," said Muskoka Algonquin CEO Natalie Bubela.
Ontario's Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams, issued a directive asking hospitals to halt all non-emergency surgeries and non-urgent procedures immediately as COVID-19 continues to overwhelm the health care system.
On Wednesday, Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre reported 70 per cent of its ICU patients were out-of-town transfers from overburdened GTA hospitals.
Bubela stressed the importance of the actions of the community to control the third wave and its impacts. "We're doing everything we can to keep our staff, and our community and our patients safe, but it is up to the people in the community to take this seriously.
Make sure that they're physically distancing, wearing the PPE, not congregating in crowds, etcetera," she said.
According to the health unit, the vast majority of cases continue to be in Barrie, Bradford West Gwillimbury, New Tecumseth, Essa and Innisfil, where younger people are testing positive and, in some cases, requiring hospitalization.
The province invoked a stay-at-home order on April 8 that remains in effect until at least May 20, requiring residents only to leave home for essential reasons, stating the restrictions would be enforced.
However, on Thursday, Premier Doug Ford formally apologized for taking such extreme measures, such as allowing police to randomly stop people and ask why they left their homes.
"I know that some of those measures, especially around enforcement, they went too far," Ford said at the virtual news conference Thursday. "Simply, we got it wrong. We made a mistake."
Still, hospital officials encourage residents to do their part. "We're here for you, and really, you need to be there for us as well so we can keep these volumes down and really get through the pandemic," Bubela concluded.
With files from CTV Toronto