The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) said during a virtual press conference today that there has been a second COVID-19 related death in Simcoe Muskoka and one new confirmed case that was contracted via community transmission, the first such case confirmed in the region. Both were in Simcoe County. There are still no laboratory-confirmed cases in Huntsville or Muskoka.
The man who died was in his 70s from Barrie and was receiving care at RVH in Barrie. He was a close contact of the first death in the health unit. Both had frequent prolonged exposure to each other. All contacts and environments related to the case had been identified, with a public advisory issued.
Dr. Charles Gardner, medical officer of health for SMDHU, said, “I would like to express my condolences to the family and for their loss. This does speak to the seriousness of COVID-19 as an infection. It speaks to the importance of the pandemic and the importance of the control measures we are putting in place.”
We also want to emphasize the importance of everybody taking very seriously the pandemic and to exercise social distancing, to maintain two-metres distance from other people, to avoid crowds, to wash hands frequently as the single most important and effective thing you can do. Certainly to isolate yourselves and stay indoors and seek medical consultation when needed if you develop symptoms. We are seeing evidence of community-acquired infection and thus that I want to emphasize again the importance of these control measures…This is the time for us all to comply with this to flatten the curve and reduce the impact of the pandemic in our communities.
~Dr. Charles Gardner, SMDHU medical officer of health
The new and ninth laboratory-confirmed case in Simcoe is a woman in her 30s from Bradford West Gwillimbury who presented to Southlake Regional Health Centre in Newmarket on March 17. She is in serious condition and did have pre-existing medical conditions. Although the investigation is ongoing, this appears to be a community-acquired infection
Dr. Gardner said that the health unit has been advising hospitals and meeting with them by teleconference weekly “about their preparation. Their concerns that they have raised to date have been related more to access to personal protective equipment and the need to facilitate testing of patients and the need to establish assessment centers in order to facilitate that.”
To date, assessment centres have opened in Barrie, Orillia and Collingwood and the health unit anticipates one opening in Midland on Monday. Dr. Gardner said that “there’s plans for possibly two to be opening up in Muskoka, although I do not have a date as to when they would be opening.”
For regularly updated information on COVID-19 news and community impact in Huntsville, check our COVID-19 page.
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