Simcoe Muskoka's COVID death toll rises with man's passing in Midland
BARRIE, ONT. -- There is one new COVID-19-related death listed by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) on Wednesday, along with 18 new cases.
Tragically, the region's death toll now sits at 51 after a man in his 80s died with COVID-19 at Georgian Bay General Hospital in Midland.
The numbers released show positive diagnoses in Barrie, New Tecumseth, Adjala-Tosorontio, Bradford, Essa, Innisfil, Ramara, Springwater and Tiny townships.
The health unit has reported a staggering 131 new positive test results since Sunday.
Across Ontario, 670 publicly-funded schools have reported COVID-19 cases, 10 of those in Simcoe Muskoka.
The most recent case is at Monsignor Clair Catholic School in Barrie.
The health unit declared outbreaks at two schools, Nottawasaga Pine and Our Lady of Grace, both in Angus.
An outbreak is declared if the health unit finds transmission of the virus within the school environment. The SMDHU stated most cases among children under 17 are linked to positive cases within their households, not school.
One day after Ontario's Education Minister Stephen Lecce hinted at an extended winter break for students to curb the virus' spread, he released a statement saying it wasn't necessary.
"We have consulted with the chief medical officer of health as well as the public health measures table and have determined that an extended winter holiday is not necessary at this time, given Ontario's strong safety protocols, low levels of transmission and safety within our schools," Lecce said.
Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 infections across the province rose considerably Wednesday. The province reported 1.417 new cases and 32 new virus-related deaths.
York Region remains among the three hot spots for virus cases, along with Toronto and Peel Region.
The province said 26 of the new deaths reported are seniors in long-term care homes.
There are four seniors' homes with COVID-19 outbreaks listed on the health unit's website, Simcoe Manor in Beeton, Sunset Manor in Collingwood, Holland Gardens Retirement Residence in Bradford, and Allandale Station Retirement Residence in Barrie. The outbreak at I.O.O.F. Seniors Home in Barrie has been declared over.