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COVID-19 seeing a resurgence in Simcoe Muskoka and Province

September 18, 2020   ·   0 Comments

Similar to the rest of Ontario, Simcoe Muskoka is seeing a resurgence in cases of COVID-19.

There’s already been over 60 new infections in the region since September 1, bringing the total to 770, as of press time. The recent spike in cases is significant when comparing it to the total of 45 cases that were recorded in all of August.

New Tecumseth has reported four new COVID-19 infections so far this month, which is double the two cases recorded in August.

The uptick in new infections locally is a reflection of an increase in the provincial totals, as Ontario reported a 14-week high on Monday with 313 new cases.

“We’re definitely seeing an upward swing in our cases at this time, which is cause for some concern for us all and reminds us of the importance of maintaining the control measures,” said Simcoe Muskoka Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Charles Gardner.

He said in order to avoid a second wave, the public needs to continue to physically distance, practice hand hygiene and self monitor for symptoms

“We have had now three small surges of COVID-19 since June, the others have come back down again. If we work hard at it we’ll bring this one down as well, but, if we’re not careful, this will keep going up,” Dr. Gardner warned. “It’s up to us to maintain this control.”

The primary source of new cases in Simcoe Muskoka is being attributed to family gatherings.

Dr. Gardner said it’s important to stick to a social circle of 10 people where everyone is mutually exclusive.

He noted that individuals can still meet with family members outside of their social circle but need to physically distance when doing so.

In terms of social bubbles, Dr. Gardner said it’s an important time for people to be mindful of potential risks for those in their circle that are more vulnerable to COVID-19 now that children are heading back to school.

He said from his own observation taking walks in his neighbourhood he’s seen large groups of young people congregating, which could lead to transmission of the virus.

Dr. Gardner noted that it’s important to maintain messaging to youth about the importance of physical distancing and share it with adults as well.

“I think we’re all vulnerable at this time, what we’re asking of people is not natural, that they limit their social contact with other people and that they maintain a distance,” he said.

“That’s not natural for us, we naturally come close to each other to talk and want lots of friends and social interaction, so this is limiting to the quality of our lives.”

Pandemic fatigue among the general public appears to be a source for new cases as well. The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) was tracking around three contacts per case of COVID-19 when contact tracing but this has more than doubled to seven as of late.

“That’s an indication that people are increasing their social circle, their interaction with people, that they’re getting fatigued with abiding by the message that we’re giving,” Dr. Gardner explained. “It’s just part of the challenge of it all for us.”

In Simcoe Muskoka, there’s been an interaction between wider social circles and outbreaks in the workplace.

“There can be an instance of someone who gets it from the family and then gives it to a co-worker or vice versa,” said Dr. Gardner.

As well, there’s still a small amount of travel-related cases circulating in the community.

By Sam Odrowski
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

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