Mark Clairmont |

SIMCOE-MUSKOKA — A slight dip in COVID cases today still saw 108 regional positive tests — all in Simcoe and none in Muskoka.

That’s down from 114 yesterday and when there were 10 in Muskoka.

The province reported 77 regional cases this morning.

This as Dr. Charles Gardner welcomed news this afternoon the province in considering some form of sick leave program after opposing it for months.

“I’m completely committed to protecting this population,” Gardner said when “challenged” by on when medical officers of health will turn their backs on the province and act less as civil servants and more as doctors sworn to do no harm.

He said “one striking example was essentially positioning to have this district in lockdown at the end of February. That was exceedingly hard to do. I felt that it needed to be done even though the numbers in the framework wouldn’t have supported it.”

He said “I went there, because in my judgment we’re at an added risk with the new variance and we’re in a class of our own far from anywhere else.”

Pressed further on his ability to act unilaterally when numbers continue the past five weeks, Gardner said “that would be a different matter from dedication.”

“I’m fully dedicated to protecting this population.

“But I have limited power to do so and exercise the power I have and apply it where I think it’s needed and would be effective.”

He added “I don’t have the same degree of power that the provincial government itself has and they would be able to successfully or more successfully do things than I could….

“Under the province’s power, I exercise the influence I had, but it was there power that made it happen.”

Gardner went on to say that for the first time Muskoka’s positivity rate of 6.1 per cent last week exceeded that of Simcoe at 5.2 per cent. The week before Muskoka was at 4 per cent and Simcoe 7 per cent.

And that “100 per cent” of all cases tested this week are variants of concern.

This as the province reported 3,469 cases and 22 deaths.

Toronto dropped to 1,074, York fell to 406 and Peel was down to 775.

North Bay-Parry Sound had no cases.

Meanwhile, Gardner noted his Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) is about a week away from 10,000 cases as he reported 9,508 so far.

And 164 cases since Sunday as weekly cases continue to rise with 53 per cent of cases under the age 40.

Last week’s 711 cases, though “relatively lower,” were still 7 per cent higher.

Looking back five weeks there were 711, 666, 451, 308 and 260 cases.

Active cases today are up to 1,141 from 1,106 a week ago.

However, 6 more people in Simcoe have died in the past week — none of whom were vaccinated.

In addition, there were 41 cases in child care centres, up from 26 last week.

Gardner said 47 people are currently in hospital and 13 of them are in ICU — down from 16 a week ago.

Meanwhile on the vaccine front, Gardner said the Moderna delay means the health unit is getting only half what it expected.

As well SMDHU is receiving only half the number of all vaccine doses it would otherwise be able to distribute.

He also said that vaccine booking appointments are all filled up in to the first week of May.

Finally, he said overall the vaccines have done as well as can be expected under the circumstances and have kept the vast majority of residents from the “worst case scenario.”


  • 2,600 volunteers are helping out at vaccination clinics.
  • 25-30 per cent of cases are of unknown cause.
  • There have been 16 COVID-19 deaths so far in April, 12 in March
  • 1,864 local cases have tested positive for the COVID-19 variant of concern UK B.1.1.7 (UK), 20 cases have tested positive for the P.1 variant of concern (Brazil), 2 cases have tested positive for the B.1.351 variant of concern (South Africa) and an additional 471 cases have screened positive (awaiting confirmatory testing).
  • Nearly 159,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Simcoe Muskoka, including doses administered by local pharmacies. Over 143,000 individuals living in Simcoe Muskoka have received their first dose of vaccine, which represents over 23% of the total population.
  • Click here to view the epidemic curve by municipality.
  • Seniors 80 years of age and older had the highest rate of infection in January, with over 90% of these cases associated with an institutional outbreak. Young adults (18-34 years) had the highest rate of infection in February and March.


  • Provincewide, 768 people in ICUs today — 68 admitted past 24 hours.
  • PCs admit they screwed up.
  • Quebec reporting 1,136 cases and 17 deaths
  • Vaccine Hunters, a private search firm, has 100,000 followers on Twitter and thousands more on Facebook for those desperately seeking a jab who may not be close to a local retail pharmacy to sign up.
  • Justin Trudeau, 49, and Chrystia Freeland, 52, who are now eligible for the AstraZeneca vaccine, likely won’t be seeking help from Vaccine Hunters.
  • Sudbury is receiving its first COVID transfer patient.
  • EU OKs J&J vaccine despite clot concerns.
  • CBC counts daily deaths now at 23,667 and 1,131,780 cases.
  • Sunnybrook pop-up hospital opens first 20 beds, with 64 more due this month.
  • B.C. restricting travel between health unit areas, says “random audits” will be like RIDE checks.
  • Tokyo and Osaka cases rising, prompting cities to call for emergency measures ahead of Summer Olympics in 90 days.
  • Toronto joins Peel in ordering business with 5 or more cases to shut down for 10 days.
Health officials like Anne who works with the Haliburton Kawartha Pine Region Health Unit are keeping a close eye on vaccine supplies. They are a daily concern for people scouring the province looking for vaccine clinics. That included more than 100,000 who have now joined the Facebook page of Vaccine Hunter a private company that will help you find an available booking.


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