Based on the spread of COVID-19 in the Simcoe-Muskoka region, it’s possible the province could decide to put the area under its red “control” restrictions listed in the COVID-19 Response Framework.
Dr. Charles Gardner, medical officer of health for the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, said red zone restrictions may be in the region's future.
In Simcoe-Muskoka, the seven-day average case incidence is 45.4 cases per 100,000 people. It was 33 last week. At the rate of spread the region is currently experiencing, the total number of cases could double in 41 days (from 2,000 to 4,000).
Under the province’s colour-coded framework of control measures, those regions with a weekly incidence rate of 40 or higher would qualify for red “control” level restrictions. However, weekly average case rates are one of several indicators the province uses to decide what regions will be in each of the colour-coded designations.
“I think this is a warning for us if we don’t stabilize and bring things back down, we would be moving toward the possibility of moving into the red,” said Gardner during his weekly update on Dec. 8.
The health unit is stretched to keep up with cases, and yesterday, Gardner admitted the case reports and outbreak declarations are lagging.
Since Sunday, the health unit has reported 215 cases in the region. This is compared to 230 cases in total for the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5 and 183 cases for the week of Nov. 22 to 28.
“We’re definitely on an upward trajectory,” said Gardner.
He reiterated everyone should continue to be diligent about hand hygiene, wearing a mask while indoors and if you’re within two metres of people outdoors, screening yourself and your children for symptoms, and self-isolating and seeking assessment and testing if you do develop any symptoms of COVID-19.
He also urges people to limit close contact to only those they live with. Those who live alone, he said, could adopt one other household for social and close contact.