'We're now hitting about 100 cases a day. We've never seen that before'
BARRIE, ONT. -- The race is on for the Simcoe Muskoka health unit to vaccinate as many eligible residents in the region as possible as daily case counts of COVID-19 climb to triple digits two days in a row.
The health unit reports 100 lab-confirmed tests Friday, plus one more death to add to the more than 200 lives lost to the virus in Simcoe Muskoka.
"Unfortunately, we're now hitting about 100 cases a day. We've never seen that before," said Dr. Colin Lee, associate medical officer of health with Simcoe Muskoka public unit.
There are currently 771 active infections, including 38 hospitalizations.
Hospitals across the area are struggling with an influx of patients, with many postponing and prioritizing surgeries.
COVID-19 admissions have impacted Southlake Regional Health Centre in Newmarket. In a statement to CTV News, a spokesperson for the hospital said, "We will follow the Ministry of Health directives for reducing or postponing surgeries and are extremely concerned about the high number of COVID-19 cases and how that impacts scheduled surgeries." The hospital is redeploying staff to areas that require the most support as they anticipate a surge of infected patients.
The majority of cases Friday are in south Simcoe, with two listed in Muskoka. However, four locations are pending.
Variants of concern account for 85 per cent of confirmed cases across the region, with 1,245 UK B.1.1.7 cases to date. Eighteen residents have tested positive for the Brazil P.1 variant, and two individuals tested positive for the South Africa B.1.351 variant. The health unit says 405 cases screened positive for a variant of concern.
Currently, residents 60 and older qualify to book an appointment to be vaccinated. The health unit says over 116,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine have gone into the arms of locals.
The AstraZeneca vaccine is being offered to residents 55 and older by primary caregivers and select pharmacies.
On Thursday, the province targeted Bradford as a hot spot for infection rates, allowing eligible residents 50 and older to book an appointment for the vaccine.
A full list of how to get the vaccine in Simcoe Muskoka, including who is now eligible, is available here.