Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit’s (SMDHU) Medical Officer of Health Dr. Charles Gardner took to Facebook as he normally does on Tuesday for his weekly COVID-19 update.

Since his last update, five more cases have been added in Muskoka. Two in Gravenhurst, one in Muskoka Lakes, one in Lake of Bays, and one in Georgian Bay. Of those, 83 people have recovered. None are currently in hospital.

In SMDHU’s medical region, 192 cases have been added, bringing the total to 1,938 in Simcoe Muskoka. That’s two more than what was added in the previous week. Gardner added that two more died over the past week. “One was a man in his 80s who passed away at the Georgian Bay General Hospital, another was a woman in her 80s who passed away at a congregate setting,” he said. 

Just this week there have been 104 new cases added by SMDHU. 29 of them were diagnosed yesterday, 77 over the weekend. One of them was from a male, zero to 17 years old in Gravenhurst. The Health Unit lists the cause for his positive test as close contact. He is one of the 218 currently active cases of COVID-19 in the region, which is up from the 207 that were reported last week. Another 183 people have recovered from the virus, bringing the total recoveries to 1,659. 

15 people are in the hospital, which is up from seven last week. Two of them are in intensive care. “That is quite a large jump,” Gardner said. All people in the hospital right now are from Simcoe County. 

“We continue to see much of the same pattern as we’ve seen throughout the second wave,” Gardner said. Most of the cases popping up now are outbreaks involving families or households. From there, Gardner said the people that contracted the virus spread it to friends, other family members and sometimes co-workers. Since the beginning of the month, SMDHU says there have been approximately 40 household clusters of the disease, affecting about 100 people. 

Gardner believes this speaks to how important it is to maintain proper protocols at work.

“We are on track for much higher disease levels unless we take more action to curb its spread, and that includes actions as individuals within our work, social and household settings,” Gardner said. 

He recommended continuing to follow protocols set by the province and by SMDHU. He stressed that with the holidays coming up, it’s going to be even more important to do that. In a letter put out on the Health Unit’s website, he suggested those in areas with high infection rates not travel unless it’s essential. 

“This pandemic has been extremely challenging for all of us and I know that the additional actions I am asking for are difficult, particularly as we approach the holiday season,” Gardner said. “However, the only way we are going to slow the spread of COVID-19, which will allow us to keep our communities safe and healthy and our schools, organizations and businesses open, is through our own actions as individuals and as a society.”