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COVID-19 rates “highest they have ever been” in New Tecumseth: Gardner

April 16, 2021   ·   0 Comments

New Tecumseth is currently seeing the highest incident rate yet of new COVID-19 cases, according to Dr. Charles Gardner, Medical Officer of Health for the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. 

According to Dr. Gardner in his weekly update on Tuesday afternoon, New Tecumseth is sitting at 200 cases per 100,000 population, with the average for Simcoe-Muskoka as a whole sitting at 100 cases per 100,000.

“We continue in a sharp upward rise in our case counts,” said Dr. Gardner. “The weekly incidence rates are very high. For Simcoe-Muskoka overall for the week of April 4, we had 110 cases per 100,000 population per week. This is the highest that we have ever had in Simcoe-Muskoka and it does put us in the former Grey territory when the former framework was still in effect. It is the first time we have been above 100 cases per 100,000 for the week. New Tecumseth and Lake of Bays [are experiencing] the highest incidents they have ever had of 200 cases per 100,000 population per week.

“We continue to have an upward trajectory in the proportion of COVID cases that are variants of concern. For the week of April 4, 87 per cent of our COVID cases turned out to be variants of concern and so far of the cases this week it is 96 per cent of our COVID cases being variants of concern. That speaks to just how communicable they are and…taking over and displacing the previous strain of COVID-19.”

The local health unit, as of April 13, is dealing with 19 outbreaks, six of which are in institutional settings, including Beeton’s Simcoe Manor.

Amid the rising case counts, Stevenson Memorial Hospital (SMH) continues to postpone elective surgeries to support pressures stemming from the third wave.

“As per the direction from Ontario Health, SMH will be ramping down pre-scheduled surgeries to accommodate pandemic-related pressures the hospital and health care system are now facing and will continue to face in the coming weeks,” said the hospital in a statement. “Effective Monday, April 12, all pre-scheduled, non-urgent surgeries will be postponed to create capacity for acute care patients as a result of the impending Wave 3 pressures. SMH will continue to provide all emergency services, including emergency surgeries, fully supporting patients with urgent health care needs.”

In the statement, Jody Levac, President and CEO of SMH said the hospital will “continue to provide surgery to those who need it the most and will look to bring back all surgical services as soon as we are able to do so safely.”

Added Carrie Jeffreys, VP of Clinical Services: “This continues to be a very challenging time and there are many members of our community who are waiting for surgeries. To adequately prepare for Wave 3, we need to ensure we have the capacity to manage what we are anticipating in the coming weeks, which is a potential surge of patients in our inpatient units.”

By Brock Weir

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