With vaccines continuing to roll out across Ontario, particularly in COVID-19 hotspots, you may be wondering how Muskoka is faring in terms of vaccinating its residents.
According to the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU), as of today, 20,073 Muskoka residents, about 30 per cent of the population, have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while another 2,328 have received a second dose.
In Huntsville, 6,728 (30.1 per cent) have received a first dose and 751 (3.4 per cent) have received a second. In Lake of Bays, 1,110 (31.4 per cent) have received a first dose and 46 (1.3 per cent) have received a second.
By age, the following percentages of people in Huntsville have received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, following the province’s phased approach:
Over 75: 87 per cent
70-74: 80 per cent
65-69: 46 per cent
60-64: 48 per cent
50-59: 29 per cent
40-49: 16 per cent
30-39: 13 per cent
16-29: 8 per cent
See a full breakdown for the remaining municipalities in Muskoka in the graphics below.
In his weekly briefing today, SMDHU medical officer of health, Dr. Charles Gardner, noted that variants of concern have “almost completely taken over” the COVID case count. For the week of April 18, 95 per cent of COVID cases in Simcoe Muskoka were variants of concern, he said, while so far this week all of the cases to date have been identified as variants of concern.
The majority of the variants of concern in the region are the B.1.1.7 (UK) variant, although there have also been cases identified as both the P.1 (Brazilian) and B.1.135 (South African) variants. In Muskoka, there have been 103 B.1.1.7 cases and one P.1 case to date.
Although not yet noted in the health unit’s stats, Gardner said that he received notice from Public Health Ontario that there is also one case in Simcoe Muskoka that has been identified as the B.1.617 (Indian) variant.
With the majority of cases now the more easily transmissible variants, Dr. Gardner recommended that residents accept the first vaccine they are offered.
Many residents have expressed frustration at the amount of time they’ve had to wait for a vaccine appointment despite registering once their age group became eligible.
Gardner said that a greater volume of vaccines will be coming to the region soon. “We’ve received communication from the province that we can expect quite a substantial increase in the volume of vaccines through the month of May. In the early part of May, very much directed toward our hotspot community [Bradford West Gwillimbury] but for the latter part of May an even larger portion coming to us simply on a per capita basis.”
He also noted that the health unit is monitoring how vaccines are being administered to year-round residents versus seasonal or non-residents. “People can come here from out of area to receive their immunization,” he said, just as those from Simcoe Muskoka can travel elsewhere to receive a vaccine. If that number gets out of balance, Dr. Gardner said he would use it to advocate for additional vaccines from the province.
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