'This is a scary time' Simcoe Muskoka reports 132 new COVID-19 infections
BARRIE, ONT. -- The Simcoe Muskoka health unit posted triple-digit daily COVID-19 case counts Thursday, one week into the provincial stay-at-home order.
The health unit lists 132 infections, eight of which are in the Muskoka area. Most of the individuals are under the age of 45.
Health officials have been saying the third wave, driven by the more contagious variant strains, has had a greater impact on the younger population.
"We're seeing patients that are younger. They are getting sick faster and for longer, and they are ending up in our intensive care unit," said Janice Skot, Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre's president and CEO.
To date, there has been a total of 2,081 variant cases confirmed by the health unit. Of those, 1,629 tested positive for the UK B.1.1.7. Twenty cases have now tested positive for the P.1 variant, originally from Brazil, and two were identified as the B.1.351 from South Africa.
For the week of April 4, the seven-day moving average of new positive tests of variants quadrupled from 15 cases per day in early March to over 60 cases per day, according to the health unit.
So far this month, 13 residents have passed away after becoming infected, bringing the region's death count to 215.
"This is a scary time. Hospitals are facing extraordinary capacity pressures," said Skot. "Our hospital staff and physicians are experiencing a high level of fatigue, stress and burnout."
COVID-19 testing clinics across Simcoe Muskoka continue to be busy. The latest data shows that Simcoe County's positivity rate is at par with the provincial rate at 6.6 per cent. The health unit said the rates are at the highest level since the start of the pandemic. "The percent positivity in Muskoka was nearly twice as high as the previous week," stated public health as the area posts a 3.9 per cent positivity rate.
On Thursday, the province reported a record breaking single-day number of cases, with 4,763 infections, plus 29 more deaths.