As cases of COVID-19 variants of concern continue to rise in Simcoe Muskoka, the region could soon be moved into a lockdown zone, warned Dr. Charles Gardner, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) medical officer of health.
Simcoe Muskoka has had a “very large number of UK-variant cases,” he noted in his weekly COVID briefing today, and that has him concerned. The bulk of those cases are in Simcoe County, but recently two have emerged in Muskoka as the result of people travelling from Barrie for work.
The UK-variant is a more transmissible version of the virus.
“The experience in some of the communities in the United Kingdom, in Ireland and Denmark has been when they’ve seen a rise in this variant within their communities, that then they then had another wave of COVID-19 that they had to manage with a shutdown, a lockdown,” he said. “So I’m watching this very closely and have communicated to the province my concern about where we are headed… we need to be prepared to go into a shutdown again in the near future if in fact we continue to see this.”
To date there have been 171 cases in Simcoe Muskoka that have tested positive for the UK B.1.1.7 variant of concern and an additional 216 cases that have screened positive for a variant and are awaiting confirmatory testing.
Dr. Gardner said he is seriously considering requesting that the province move Simcoe Muskoka back into lockdown. “You are more effective if you act early than if you wait for it to become well entrenched.”
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