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36 COVID deaths reported in October in Simcoe-Muskoka

Risk level is high, officials say, noting 53 Simcoe-Muskoka residents are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, including at least three in the ICU
2020-07-28 SMDHU offices 3

During the month of October, 36 Simcoe-Muskoka region residents died after contracting COVID-19 — that's more than double the 15 deaths reported in September. 

Of the last 21 deaths reported, 16 were seniors at least 70 years old. The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit notes the rate of death is four times higher among unvaccinated or partially vaccinated adults aged 60 years or older than it is for those with at least one booster dose. 

The health unit reported 23 deaths in August, 15 deaths in September, and 21 in October. Nine of the October deaths occurred in the last two weeks. 

Of the 616 deaths reported by the health unit since March 2020, 514 were COVID-19-related, 93 deaths were not related to COVID-19 but the person tested positive, and for nine of them, the cause of death is unknown or pending. 

The health unit still assesses the COVID-19 risk in the community as "high" with 53 COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized, and about 53 new cases confirmed each day. The weekly per cent positivity shows about 15.6 per cent of lab tests are coming back positive, which is high, and wastewater testing shows virus DNA still present, but with no marked changes from last week's testing. 

So far this week, the health unit has confirmed 150 new cases and 28 new hospitalizations since last week's update, but reporting is delayed, and underestimated. Testing is limited and most cases are going unreported as people are testing at home. 

By hospitalization date, there were 22 COVID patients admitted during the week of Oct. 30 to Nov. 5, and 29 admitted during the week of Oct. 23-29. 

There are 30 active outbreaks in the region, including 25 at institutional settings like hospitals or long-term care homes, and five at congregate settings like group homes and shelters. This is a decrease from 32 outbreaks on Nov. 3.

Since the start of the pandemic, the local health unit has confirmed 53,539 cases of COVID-19, with 52,197 of those cases recovered and 616 cases ending in death.

About 22 per cent of Simcoe-Muskoka residents aged 12 or older are fully vaccinated and have had a booster dose within the last six months. Another 34 per cent is fully vaccinated and has had a booster dose more than six months ago, and more than 31 per cent of the population has had the primary series without booster doses. Eleven per cent of the population aged 12 and above is unvaccinated.

Wastewater monitoring in Penetanguishene, Barrie, Midland, Orillia, Bracebridge and Collingwood show 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

The health unit is advising people use more layers of protection for themselves and those around them, this can include wearing a mask and not visiting crowded spaces. But those measures are voluntary. As always, the health unit strongly urges people not to leave home if they are sick and experiencing symptoms of illness.

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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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