Mark Clairmont | MuskokaTODAY.com

SIMCOE-MUSKOKA — Three Bracebridge residents are among 72 COVID cases, as most Canadian health officials, the federal government and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau roll up their sleeves in support of AstraZeneca.

And as local pharmacies are awaiting shipments soon of Pfizer and Moderna doses to jab “hundreds” on waiting lists.

Today’s regional cases are among a total of 11,171 to date — and 139 alone this week, reports the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

Muskoka accounts for 412 of those cases since the start of the pandemic.

Among Wednesday’s case are:

  1. Bracebridge man, 18-34, under investigation, reported May 11, first episode May 10
  2. Bracebridge man, 18-34, close contact, reported May 11, first episode May 10
  3. Bracebridge woman, 45-64, under investigation, reported May 11, first episode, May 10

The trio of unrelated cases are more encouraging news for Muskokans who have seen declining numbers the past four weeks.

But the province remains resolute in its protectionist policies in its bid to bring numbers down to below 1,000 before beginning to ease up on restrictions that are expected to continue to at least June 2.

That’s in contrast to talk coming out of Queen’s Park that schools could open and close in June.

Today Public Health Ontario reported 2,320 cases and 32 deaths, compared to 2,073 and 15 deaths yesterday.

They said Simcoe-Muskoka had 55 cases (39 yesterday).

Toronto, too, rose to 712 (685), as was Peel at 452 (389). York was down to 171 (231).

North Bay-Parry Sound remained at 3 cases for the second day.

Meanwhile, confusion remains around the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has some governments and health officials fully supporting its use as other provinces including Manitoba just today calling it in to question and even putting it on hold.

But not Trudeau, who backed AstraZeneca 100 per cent in House of Commons question period this afternoon.

“Personally…,” he told MPs he will get a second AstraZeneca vaccine as soon as his time and age group comes up in Ontario. He said he was advised to do so last week in consultation with his own doctor.

Local pharmacies wait for Pfizer, Modern

And while AstraZeneca has been “paused” by the Ontario Ministry of Health, Muskoka residents continue to call pharmacies to get on waiting lists for any available vaccine.

Erin Strength, manager of the Rexall IDA in Gravenhurst, said: “Lots of people are calling all the time.”

When asked if there are maybe dozens on her store’s list, she said “Oh, gosh yes, in the hundreds, for sure.”

But no one has called to cancel or take themselves off the list.

Besides, she hasn’t got any vaccine anyway.

“We haven’t had any vaccine for a couple of weeks. We ran out at the beginning of May.”

She believes it’s the same at other Rexalls in Muskoka and even Orillia.

“I’m not sure about Barrie.”

In Gravenhurst, alone, she said they’ve jabbed 620 people since the province allowed pharmacies to distribute AstraZeneca.

“We’ve been advised that over the course of the next couple of weeks we’re going to more vaccination. We just don’t know much. We don’t know when. Or what kind,” Strength said.

“We’re waiting instruction on that.

“We have been advised that they are going to only ship us one kind. So it will only be either Pfizer or Moderna. But that’s pure speculation on my part.

“It won’t be AstraZeneca — I can assure you.”

She added: “There’s lots of vaccine coming in to the country of the other two choices.

“So as soon as we can get our hands on some and get recognized … we can get some and we can keep a steady supply we should be able to knock down our waiting list to nothing — fairly quickly.”

She’s heard people trying to get on the provincial wait list can’t get on until the end of May in Orillia.

“If we can get them, we can do 45-50 a day. We just have to get our hands on them.”

Strength hopes the province can get the supply and distribution sorted out this summer because there’s a second round of vaccinations to come.

“And they want to be prepared.”

So do the pharmacies.

Meanwhile, Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, says the province is trying to figure out what to do with 250,000 does of AstraZeneca due to arrive next week. And whether they can be used for second injections.

Ontario has found 8 cases clots involved with vaccine, which in rare cases can be fatal. New data show it can now affect about one in 60,000 people rather than one in 125,000.


  • 11,171 cases to date
  • 139 this week, 442 last week, which was 21% lower than the 558 cases the week before.
  • 8 deaths in May, 19 in April, 12 in March
  • 3,145 UK variants, 75 from Brazil, 17 from South Africa. An additional 699 cases are awaiting testing for the type variant.
  • 246,200+ total vaccines have been administered in Simcoe Muskoka
  • 229,200+ residents of Simcoe Muskoka have received their first dose of vaccine, 37% of the population.
Vaccine numbers continue to go up forcing case numbers to go down in Simcoe-Muskoka.
World Health Organization chart shows almost half the COVID cases last week were in India, where government numbers are widely believed to be under reported. “**Stretching from western Europe to eastern Russia and including some Central Asian countries.)


  • Ontario children 12-17 will get the Pfizer vaccine sometime in June.
  • India’s sorrowful plight continues unabated as it tops 250,000 deaths — 3,780 since yesterday. Last week it accounted by 46 per cent of the world’s cases. Today they report 382,315 cases — the 14th straight day of more than 300,000 daily cases. (The government figures are not independently substantiated.) With the people dying in ambulances, taxis and cars waiting for a hospital bed or to get oxygen, 860 medic personnel have died — 116 in the past month.
  • Meanwhile, Europeans are seeing more public opening ahead of the curve.
  • Health Canada still mum on home-testing kits as Britain, Germany and U.S. endorse their private use.
  • In B.C. doctors are being warned to stay on message and not question government guidelines — including on masks, vaccines and social distancing — or risk professional repercussions at least.
Positive-looking numbers today in Muskoka, with just three cases in Bracebridge, point toward an end of a tough winter and promising if long summer ahead.

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