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New Tecumseth starting to see community acquired cases of COVID-19

April 3, 2020   ·   0 Comments

By Sam Odrowski
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

While a majority of Canadians have contracted COVID-19 through travel, half of the active cases in New Tecumseth have been community acquired.

Six people living in New Tecumseth have tested positive for the virus as of Tuesday and there has been one hospitalization.

An employee of Tim Horton’s in Alliston has tested positive and Medical Officer of Health for the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit Dr. Charles Gardner said he’s received indications that a second employee has tested positive as well.

“The individuals who are otherwise working at that establishment are in isolation and the effected individuals are in home isolation, self-isolation, recovering,” he noted.

Dr. Gardner said the number of cases contracted in the community will determine the severity of this pandemic.

“Now is the time for us to be acting in this way to avoid transmission in our community,” he stressed.

“This is the thing that will make a big difference for us all and really help to flatten the curve and avoid a huge surge of cases that could overwhelm our healthcare system.”

Simcoe Muskoka passed 50 confirmed cases and, so far, six have recovered, 25 are in isolation, eight were hospitalized, and four individuals have deceased, all of which were 70 or older.

Of those cases, 30 are travel related, 11 are community acquired, nine are close contacts of cases, and two are under investigation.

Dr. Gardner said it’s essential that the public follows directives and the advice of health officials to limit instances of COVID-19 being spread in the community.

“I can’t overemphasize the importance of this – it’s really up to us all to abide by this to avoid the tragic outcomes that have happened in other parts of the world,” he noted.

Last weekend, the Province issued a directive prohibiting gatherings of five people or more, which is down from the previously mandated 50.

“It is certainly a good idea of the government to have proceeded with this, it helps support the physical distancing that absolutely people have to be abiding by,” Dr. Gardner said.

Meanwhile, the number of cases in Muskoka saw a significant jump over the weekend, from one to six.

Dr. Gardner said there’s been a question of whether people should be travelling to their cottages in Muskoka for self isolation and he advises against it.

“This is potentially putting an undue strain on the healthcare system in those communities – potentially resulting in other people exposed – if they don’t abide well by isolation and do shopping en route,” he noted.

“There is a greater degree of healthcare capacity in larger centres, larger communities and it would be in the interest of everybody if people were to stay home – stay in their primary residences.”


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