Mark Clairmont |

SIMCOE-MUSKOKA — Another day with no Muskoka cases contrasts sharply again with Simcoe to the south, where the health unit reports 99 positive tests this afternoon.

That’s more than the 75 reported today in Nova Scotia, which is Canada’s latest hot spot and is entering a strict two-week lockdown with 489 cases.

Simcoe-Muskoka’s numbers are up 34 cases from the 65 that Public Health Ontario (PHO) posted this morning.

But they are in keeping with the province’s upward trend as a whole Wednesday.

Ontario rose to 3,480 from 3,265 yesterday — with 21 dying according to its past day’s reporting.

The big three GTA regions all saw drops in cases. Toronto was back under 1,000, falling by 83 to 961. Peel, too, was down 84 to 589. York’s drop was even greater at 162 cases, going to 290 from 452.

Meanwhile, Ontario has flipped on paid sick days, offering three free as part of its own go-it-alone program after pitch federal partnership, which the province says it is still negotiating.

The initiative is being debated in the legislature this afternoon and the Official Opposition NDP is opposed to just three days.

“I disagree wholeheartedly,” said leader Andrea Horwath, who left the door open to the tabling of the bill.

The Ontario COVID-19 Worker Income Protection Benefit announced this morning is retro-active to April 19 and goes to Sept. 25. Reports say employers would have to pay up to $200 for three days of sick leave for COVID illness or to get vaccinated. Businesses would be re-imbursed.

According to Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease specialist at University Health Network in Toronto, today’s arrival of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should be a game-changer especially for Canadians like transient people who are hard to reach to vaccinate them.

Bogoch — Ontario’s answer to Dr. Anthony Fauci in the United States — is the widely viewed, trusted media-friendly go-to spokesperson and a top provincial medical adviser.

He says the one-and-done shot will speed up the herd immunity process.

As of this afternoon 11.7 million Canadians have had at least their first vaccine.

With more than 50,000 COVID tests Tuesday, Ontario Health Minister says positivity rates have dropped to 7.2 per cent for the first time in two days after being about 10 per cent.


  • 10,241 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Simcoe Muskoka since COVID-19 was first identified in Canada
  • There have been 210 new cases reported to the health unit for the current week, 635 cases last week, which was 11% lower than the 714 cases beginning Sunday April 11
  • 21 deaths so far in April; 12 in March
  • 2,466 local cases have tested positive for the UK B.1.1.7 (UK) variant, 34 cases of the P.1 variant (Brazil), 7 cases of the B.1.351 variant (South Africa) and 656 cases have screened positive awaiting confirmed testing.
  • 195,300+ total doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Simcoe Muskoka
  • 179,800+ people living in Simcoe Muskoka have received their first vaccine — or nearly 29% of the total population.
New numbers this afternoon show 99 cases of COVID in the region since yesterday.


  • Bonnie Lysyk, Auditor General of Ontario, says the province wasn’t “prepared or equipped” to handle the outbreaks, particularly in long-term care homes that saw 76 per cent of them affected. This, her report says, despite being aware of the problem early on in the pandemic in which 3,756 LTC residents and 11 staff have died to date.
  • Prime Minister Trudeau says keep your vaccine receipts, because COVID passports are on the way.
  • In India where it has emerged as the epicentre of media concern among many ghastly worldwide hot spots popping up every day in news feeds, they surpassed 200,000 deaths. But that’s widely believed to be low as the disease is spreading widely in rural communities where people are dying at home and being buried without official notices. Yesterday the country of 1.4 billion registered 362,757 COVID cases.
  • Prince Charles is calling on Indians to buy oxygen — if they can — for beleaguered countrymen and women.
  • President Joe Biden’s tweet about going outdoors without a mask is a breath of fresh air for Americans — who are seeing ebb in their “second wave.”
  • In North Carolina COVID home-testing kits are being tested.
  • Pfizer is working on a “home-cure” COVID pill that could be ready by the end of the year if taken at the first sign of the dreaded deadly disease.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says keep your vaccination receipt, because vaccine passports are on the way.


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