As the situation at Roberta Place in Barrie worsens, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) says the COVID-19 UK variant has not spread into Muskoka.

“At this time we don’t,” SMDHU’s Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Colin Lee said when asked if the Health Unit knows of the variant spreading into Muskoka. “We also know that the pandemic up to now has had a lot lower cases (in Muskoka) and we’re hoping to keep it that way.”

He added that locals have been “vigilant” in curbing the spread.

Lee said Friday they have confirmed 10 cases of the variant in SMDHU’s medical region. Another 105 people have tested positive for the coronavirus and are highly probable to have the variant, but a second test is needed to confirm the results. 

Of the 105 results needing further testing, Lee said only two cannot be traced back to Roberta Place. He said they are connected to the outbreaks at the Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care in Penetanguishene and the Bradford Valley Care Community.

“To fight against the variant, it’s really about the same thing we’re doing, but we need to be more vigilant,” Lee said. The problem with the UK variant, Leee said, is that it’s “very stealthy” and it’s 50-percent more contagious and can find “little holes in our armour.” 

Lee also gave an update on the situation at Roberta Place. So far, there have been 128 residents that have tested positive and 83 staff members. Only one resident of the long-term care home has not contracted the virus. Lee also confirmed that 51 people have now died during the outbreak.

SMDHU is now listing how many confirmed and probable cases of the variant have been recorded in its medical region on the Health Unit’s COVID-19 dashboard.