The Simcoe Muskoka District has seen a concerning and substantial increase in new COVID-19 cases over the last week. 

The region’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Charles Gardner said our region saw a 44 percent increase in daily cases week on week. 

Dr. Gardner also noted the region is seeing its highest number yet of people in intensive care with 41 people currently hospitalized, 13 of which in intensive care.

He added those in intensive care nowadays appear to be younger people with about 36 percent of intensive care admissions under the age of 60, compared to 13 percent same time of last year.

Dr. Gardner said currently there are four outbreaks in schools in our region, with eight more cases added overnight in childcare staff or students.

He also highlights the increased spread of variants in Simcoe Muskoka with about 33 more VOC cases over the last week, 97 percent of which in Simcoe. 

Dr. Gardner said 85 percent of all daily tests are screening positive for a variant, up from 77 percent last week with four new VOC outbreaks seen over the past week alone. 

He said the great majority of cases have been the B.1.1.7 variant originating from the U.K. however two outbreaks did screen positive for other variants.