Mark Clairmont | MuskokaTODAY.com

SIMCOE-MUSKOKA — Two young Huntsville females are among 84 local COVID cases today as the province announced new stay-at-home orders for the next 28 days.

Half the cases are under age 35 and 85 per cent of the cases as variants of concern (VOC).

And on the eve of the spring school break the local positivity rate is at its highest at 7.1 per cent for residents aged 20-29; and lowest at 1.2 per cent for those over 80.

As well, schools within the region will re-open April 19 after the break.

The Muskoka cases, both under investigation, are aged 18-34 and under 18. And they were first reported yesterday with first episodes the day before that.

Dr. Charles Gardner said this afternoon that 560 new cases the past week are a 44 per cent week-over-week increase totalling 8,208 cases.

And that there are now 13 people in ICU — the most since the pandemic began more than a year ago. Last week there were 9 people in intensive care.

He said the “increased severity” of people under 60 going into ICU has jumped from 13 per cent last fall to 36 per cent now.

And the average age of COVID cases has dropped from age 43 in January to 37 in February and 36 in March.

They are part of an overall provincial jump to 3,217 cases and 17 deaths today. Tuesday there were 3,065 cases and 8 deaths.

The Big 3 health units of Toronto 1,095, Peel 596 and York 342 were all up.

As was Ottawa 225, Peterborough 10, Sudbury 29 and North Bay-Parry Sound 2.

Simcoe-Muskoka had 444 cases the previous week and 308 two weeks ago.

Also, 7 more people in Simcoe died of COVID since last Tuesday’s weekly media briefing by the medical officer of health for the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

That brings the death toll to 205.

He said there are 678 active cases, up from 459 last week.

On vaccines, which are seeing Muskoka’s two provincial clinics open every day now, Gardner said while bookings within the region are full till April 17 more spaces have opened to May 14.

And 25 pharmacies now offer the AstraZeneca vaccine with more pharmacies to come soon.

In addition, hot spots and communities and neighbourhoods at high risk can expect to see mobile clinics.

Gardner said to date 91,217 residents have received at least one vaccine and 18,366 have received a second injection.

There are just fewer than 600,000 people in Simcoe-Muskoka.

In making today’s announcement about the stay-at-home order, Premier Doug Ford said “to boil it down as simple as possible … hunker down.”

He said “unless you’re an essential worker” or need food or medicine “stay at home.”

Ford said now that the province is getting “quite a few more vaccines” through Ottawa the goal is vaccinate 40 per cent of Ontario adults the next 28 days.

He said 104,382 people got vaccinated yesterday and 128,000 have appointments booked.

But a million people haven’t signed up who are eligible.

“Your life is in jeopardy” if you don’t get the vaccine, he said, adding that 90 per cent of the deaths are among people aged 60+.


  • 1,124 UK cases, 18 Brazil cases, 2 from South Africa.
  • 381 cases await second VOC confirmation.
  • More than 111,750 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Simcoe Muskoka.
  • This includes more than 18,000 individuals who have received both of the required doses of the vaccine.
  • There have been 195 new cases reported to the health unit for the current week. There were 444 new cases reported to the health unit last week (week of March 28th), which was 44% higher than the 308 cases reported for the week of March 21st.
  • In March, 12 Simcoe Muskoka residents died from COVID-19. There have been three COVID-19 deaths so far in April.
It’s a grim picture if you’re following these statistics.


  • A random survey today of people getting the vaccine shot at the health unit’s Bracebridge clinic showed 100 per cent satisfaction with the interaction.
  • 16-year-old Quebec boy is believed to be the youngest in the province to die from COVID.
  • Gardner says health experts now say vaccines four weeks apart of OK, but if you can get it soon the better.
  • Ford was wrong today when he said “we’ve done this before and it worked,” in reference to today’s announcement. It didn’t — and that’s why this is the third emergency order.
It was the last supper – er lunch – on the patio for these GHS students today as the province shuts down all dining tonight at midnight, moving restaurants back to takeout only.
Students will have a couple of more days of classes this week – including exams Friday – as they end the semester before the spring break next week. But they will be back as of April 19 to finish off the unusual year in June.

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