The Simcoe Muskoka region is still experiencing a high point in a wave of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths this week, with the local health unit warning the local risk of contracting COVID is "high."
According to Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, there are about 820 active cases of COVID-19 in the region, with between 460 and 476 new cases reported each week for the last two weeks. So far this week, the health unit has confirmed 221 new cases, but reporting is delayed, and underestimated. Testing is limited and most cases are going unreported as people are testing at home.
As of Nov. 2, there's an average of 39 cases of COVID confirmed in the region each day.
There were five more deaths confirmed by the health unit in the Nov. 3 update.
The most recent deaths include two men and two women in their 80s and a man in his 90s, all were Simcoe County residents and four cases were linked to outbreaks.
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.
There are currently 34 Simcoe-Muskoka residents hospitalized because of COVID-19, which includes 17 new hospitalizations since last week's report.
By hospitalization date, there were 18 COVID patients admitted during the week of Oct. 23-29, and 16 admitted during the week of Oct. 16-22. There were seven people admitted to hospital during the week of Oct. 2, and 11 for the week of Oct. 9.
There are 35 active outbreaks in the region, including 32 at institutional settings like hospitals or long-term care homes, and three at congregate settings like group homes and shelters.
Since the start of the pandemic, the local health unit has confirmed 53,236 cases of COVID-19, with 51,814 of those cases recovered and 602 cases ending in death.
Of the deaths reported by the health unit since March 2020, 506 were COVID-19-related, 88 deaths were not related to COVID-19 but the person tested positive, and for eight of them, the cause of death is unknown or pending.
To date, 83 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.
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 smdhu.org/GetVaccinated.
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.