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Six more deaths, 8% hike in COVID cases: health unit

18 area residents are hospitalized because of COVID-19
2020-07-28 SMDHU offices 3
The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit offices are located on Sperling Drive in north-end Barrie. | Raymond Bowe/BarrieToday

COVID cases in Simcoe-Muskoka increased eight per cent last week, after a 46 per cent jump the week before.

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit confirmed six more deaths and six new hospitalizations since the last report on July 12.

All six deaths were Simcoe County residents, including a man between 45 and 64 years old, two women and a man between 65 and 79 years old, and a man and a woman over 79 years old. Three of the cases were connected to outbreaks. The deaths occurred between July 6 and 14, and one occurred on Jan. 21 but was not reported until now. 

There are 18 area residents currently hospitalized because of COVID-19. 

Based on the latest update, posted July 19, there were 358 new COVID cases during the week of July 10 confirmed through lab testing. That's compared to 331 cases reported the week of July 3. 

Case counts are underestimated as testing is limited. 

The health unit is recommending precautions, especially for those most vulnerable to severe outcomes from COVID-19, such as choosing outdoor activities over indoor, wearing a mask in an indoor public setting, limiting close contacts, and physical distancing from those not in your household. 

There are 26 active COVID-19 outbreaks, compared to 20 on July 12. They include 11 institutional settings (long-term care and nursing homes), seven group homes, six recreational camps, and two child care facilities. 

There are active COVID-19 outbreaks at Victoria Village Manor and Amica Little Lake retirement home in Barrie, at Trillium Manor and Oak Terrace in Orillia, at Good Samaritan Seniors' Complex and Riverwood Senior Living in Alliston, at Georgian Manor in Penetanguishene, Revera Sara Vista in Elmvale, and at Holland Gardens Retirement Residence in Bradford. 

A list of outbreaks is included on the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit website here.

According to the health unit, the rate of hospitalization for COVID-19 among the unvaccinated population (aged 12 and older) is three times higher than it is for the vaccinated population, and five times higher for ICU admissions. Death rates among the unvaccinated are three times higher than they are for vaccinated populations. 

Since the start of the pandemic, the local health unit has confirmed 47,387 cases of COVID-19, with 46,388 of those cases recovered and 518 cases ending in death.

Of the deaths reported by the health unit since March 2020, 441 were COVID-19-related, 66 deaths were not related to COVID-19 but the person tested positive, and for 11 of them, the cause of death is unknown or pending. 

The health unit reported 30 COVID deaths in April, 22 deaths in May, and 13 deaths in June, and eight so far in July. Of the last 15 deaths, all but two were seniors aged 75 or older. 

To date, 86 per cent of the population aged five years old and up are fully vaccinated with two or more doses, and 18 per cent of the region’s total population (including children) is unvaccinated.

According to monitoring of the region’s hospitals by the health unit, 70 per cent of the region’s ICU beds are full and 35 per cent of the ventilator beds are occupied. Acute care occupancy is highest with 95 per cent of the beds in the region currently full.

Wastewater monitoring in Collingwood, Barrie, Orillia, Penetanguishene, and Midland shows COVID-19 virus DNA as present in each of the communities, but there's been no increase or decrease noted in the last week.

Anyone who has not yet received their COVID-19 vaccination or booster doses is encouraged to do so as soon as they are eligible. Information about eligibility and clinic locations is available at smdhu.org/GetVaccinated.


Erika Engel

About the Author: Erika Engel

Erika regularly covers all things news in Collingwood as a reporter and editor. She has 13 years of experience as a local journalist
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