Mark Clairmont | MuskokaTODAY.com

SIMCOE-MUSKOKA — Final 4? Don’t bet on it.

Today’s 4 COVID cases in Simcoe don’t put the region in the championship playoff round leading to a pandemic winner.

Even if they are the best single day since last September.

We know this from past experience as cases have gone up and down daily — just when the end appeared tantalizingly close to the end game goal.

It’s active cases that remain a concern with 107, which is down from 136 last Wednesday.

And not with 3 more Simcoe residents dying the past week, bring that grim total to 249 — 5 of them in Muskoka.

There 14 people now in hospital (down from 23 a week ago), with 7 of them in ICU (again down from 10 last week). Among the 14 they range in age from their 40s to 80s.

But it’s younger people 18-34 who are still most affected by the virus.

Make no mistake; cases are still rising albeit at a near trickle now.

Tuesday’s numbers include those aged under to 10 to in their 50s.

Karen and Steve Richards, of Huntsville, who celebrated their second vaccinations, are among almost 21 per cent who are fully vaccinated in Simcoe-Muskoka now.

Overriding everything is the delta variant threat that Dr. Charles Gardner said today still has the potential to rear its ugly head.

As of now 54 per cent of positive cases are confirmed as being of that variant of concern. And most likely all of them pending confirmed testing.

Where once that number was more than a third less at 12-15 per cent of cases.

He said in his weekly media briefing that that “speaks to caution.”

However that, of course, is being mitigated by 74 per cent of adults with one vaccine and 21 per cent who are fully vaccinated now.

And 54 per cent of youth 12 to 17 headed in that direction.

He called the latter “excellent progress.”

Yet these numbers point to plateaus and further concerns about “vaccine hesitancy” given the opportunities in recent weeks for most people to book appointments.

A reluctance among men overall and in areas of highly integrated ethnicity exists is also troublesome. As it is in lower income groups.

He said a quarter of the region’s population remains vulnerable, notably now due to delta, which can cause more severe cases and hospitalizations.

He said all the vaccines protect against those things happening to you.

Even one dose improves your chances.

Since Simcoe-Muskoka is a delta hot spot, starting tomorrow everyone age 18+ can get a second vaccine if you had your first shot before May 30.

As of June 30 that applies to everyone in the province.

Youth 12-17 will be eligible again Aug. 9-22.

Special considerations are being made for groups including First Nations, Inuit, Metis and high risk health workers as defined by the health unit.

Another positive Gardner said is that there was no surge in cases coming out of the May 24 long weekend and Mother’s Day gatherings and that he was glad people were still “abiding” by restrictions in place then.

Yet he maintained caution about the province acting prematurely on advancing the opening of Stage 2 of its Road to Recovery plan.

In terms of vaccine, again, he added that mNRA vaccines like Moderna and Pfizer have been game-changers in the health field for decades how.

“They are so important today” and can be easily altered to address changes in variants to maintain “disease avoidance” and chronic impacts.

Now “killer diseases” are ancient health history thanks to vaccine advancements like the one for COVID, which have controlled outbreaks as never before.

That will be important if booster shots are needed in say a year’s time.

And when kids aged 5 to 11 become the next vaccine target group in the fall.

Gardner is working on a plan that could see primary care, pharmacies, the health unit and even schools dispense those shots.

Right now the goal by July 4 is to get 80 per cent of school-aged children vaccinated so they can get back in class in September.

He said he hasn’t heard any talk of proof of vaccine for students to get back into classes.

The region’s medical officer of health said he is keeping a close eye on 2 hospitalized breakthrough cases at Soliders’ Memorial Hospital in Orillia. A vaccine breakthrough case happens when a person tests positive for the coronavirus at least two weeks after being fully vaccinated.

He said the provincial rate of vaccine failure is just .06 per cent and Simoce-Muskoka is also “very low.”

As well, he said some concerns about Muskoka lagging in vaccine distribution are false.

He cited 64.6 per cent of all Muskoka residents as having had a first shot; compared to 62.6 per cent in Simcoe.

And Muskoka is only 1 per cent behind Simcoe on second shots — 16.2 per cent compared to 17.2 per cent.

On final note he said he wouldn’t oppose any kind of vaccine incentive like lotteries to achieve herd immunity.

But don’t expect it to come from the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

That would be up to province, he said, which has no aversion to lotteries.


  • 12,224 cases to date
  • 4 new cases this week, 63 last week (week of June 13th), 35% lower than the 97 cases reported for the week of June 6th. This was the lowest weekly case total since September 2020.
  • 4 deaths in June, 18 in May, 25 in April, 12 in March
  • 3,973+ cases of alpha (B.1.1.7 variant), 164 cases have tested positive for the gamma, 32 beta, 21 Delta (B.1.617.2)
  • 669 cases have screened positive and are awaiting confirmation of variant type
  • Note: all B.1.617 cases are currently presumed to be of the B.1.617.2 (delta) lineage as it is the dominant B.1.617 strain in Ontario.
  • 489,600+ vaccines have been administered in Simcoe Muskoka
  • 384,125+ residents have received their first dose of vaccine, which is almost 64% of the population.
  • 74% of adults 18 years + have had at least one dose of vaccine
  • 54% of youth aged12 to 17 have had a first dose



  • George Niras, 44, of Toronto, has been charged after being caught at Premier Doug Ford’s home with a butcher knife yesterday.
  • A Canadian survey finds most people uneasy about lifting restrictions too soon.
  • With 20 per cent of Canadians fully vaccinated, the country’s top doc Dr. Therea Tam is working on public rules as summer begins and life heads more toward normalcy the next two months.
  • Ontario reported 296 cases today, but 60 deaths in an updated report (270-3 yesterday); Toronto was 123 (47), York 37 (22), Peel 20 (42), North Bay-Parry Sound 4 (4) and Porcupine 5 (7).

Email news@muskokatoday.com

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