The region’s health unit is conducting an investigation into a cluster of 11 cases of COVID-19 all discovered among a group that visited a Muskoka resort.
According to Dr. Charles Gardner, medical officer of health for Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, a group of about 30 people (multiple families) stayed at Deerhurst Resort and dined at Three Guys and a Stove in Huntsville. At the time, no member of the group was symptomatic.
Upon returning to their homes outside of the Simcoe-Muskoka region, some of them started experiencing symptoms and 11 people from the group have now tested positive for COVID-19.
Both Deerhurst and Three Guys and a Stove made a decision to publicly declare themselves as places the group visited.
The health unit doesn’t usually reveal the names of businesses where people have visited prior to testing positive for COVID-19. Gardner would not identify which health units reported the cases.
The individuals tested outside the region, and their health unit or health units contacted Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit as a result of contact tracing once it was discovered the group stayed at the same resort.
According to Gardner, the group stayed at the resort during the Civic Holiday long-weekend (Aug. 1-3).
Thus far, the health unit has not identified any cases in Simcoe-Muskoka linked to the group’s stay in the area.
The group of 30 involved more than one family and there was evidence they were not always practising physical distancing.
“There is potential for transmission, even in Muskoka, even when our rates are very low,” said Dr. Gardner. “People need to continue practising safety measures.”
Gardner reiterated the importance of an exclusive social circle no larger than 10 people and maintaining physical distancing while meeting with anyone outside your circle.
“When you’re getting together with people beyond your social circle, and by all means you can do that, you’ve got to keep that two metres apart,” said Gardner. “If people are compromising that, they’re increasing the risk of transmission among themselves.”
As for other locations the group may have been, Gardner said the health unit is focusing its investigation and contact tracing on prolonged and close exposure. Instances, such as someone walking past them on the street, cannot be tracked.
The health unit is still conducting its investigation at the two businesses where the group visited. Three Guys and a Stove has announced the restaurant and food truck will be closed until test results for staff testing have been returned.