On Saturday, April 11, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) reported that one of the laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Muskoka, a man in his 80s from Muskoka Lakes who contracted the virus during travel, has died at one of the Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare hospital sites. For privacy reasons, the health unit will not report whether that was in Huntsville or Bracebridge.
The health unit also reported that Lake of Bays has its first laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19, a man in his 70s who acquired the virus via community transmission.
The new Lake of Bays case brings the total of laboratory-confirmed cases for Muskoka to 12: five in Gravenhurst, four in Huntsville, two in Muskoka Lakes and one in Lake of Bays. All four of the Huntsville cases are now reported as recovered, as are one in Gravenhurst and one in Muskoka Lakes. (Note that the health unit previously reported six cases in Gravenhurst, but one may have been double-reported. They will provide further clarification at a later date.)
The case count for Simcoe County has risen by 28 cases to 129 since numbers were last reported on April 9.
With the provincial government’s announcement on April 10 that it would be significantly expanding testing in Ontario, the number of reported cases is expected to rise. Cases occurring in the last 14 days may also be underreported due to the time it takes for people to seek medical assessment.
“We’ve seen community transmission becoming more and more of an issue,” said Dr. Gardner, SMDHU medical officer of health. He urged people to follow guidelines listed on the health unit website to help stop the spread of the virus:
- Stay home as much as possible (this applies to people who have NOT travelled outside of the country or who are NOT self-isolating with symptoms of COVID-19—people in either of those situations MUST stay at home for 14 days).
- If you must go out into the community, practise physical distancing by keeping two metres or six feet between you and another person, unless they are members of your household.
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 15 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, use the self-assessment tool to help determine how to seek further care. If you develop symptoms, remain at home for at least 14 days or until symptoms have resolved, whichever is longer, and seek medical care if symptoms worsen.
Dr. Gardner reminded everyone that they should limit their social contact to household members only, also noting that Premier Ford has issued a directive to the population that gatherings of more than five people are not permitted. “We really need to hunker down to flatten the curve,” he said.
He also said that the health unit anticipates an increase in cases through April, making it even more important for people to take measures to stop the spread. Some who contract the virus may have no symptoms or mild symptoms.
For continued updates on the COVID-19 pandemic in the Huntsville area, visit Doppler’s COVID-19 page.
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