Mark Clairmont |

SIMCOE-MUSKOKA — A better day on local COVID fronts.

Only 8 cases in Simcoe — and none in Muskoka.

That’s according to the health unit this afternoon, a number that’s half the 16 the province reported this morning.

As importantly is the region has surpassed 60 per cent of residents with their first vaccine, reports the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

That’s 361,686 people.

However, just 8.8 per cent (53,322) are fully-vaccinated.

There are 222 active cases, but no news deaths and 25 people still in local hospitals (some of whom do not live in Simcoe-Muskoka).

One person previously reported in Bracebridge had their re-assigned to another health unit.

Provincially numbers were way up at 590 with 11 deaths. Yesterday those numbers sat at 411 and but with 33 deaths.

Toronto was up slightly to 114 from 97, as was York at 32 from 26, along with Peel going up the most to 130 from 72.

North Bay-Parry Sound took a huge jump to 9 from 2.

Porcupine slipped to 18 from 21.

  • This as yesterday Dr. Charles Gardner, the health unit’s medical officer of health, assumed the chair of the Council of Ontario Medical Officers of Health.

He will continue his current job.

The low-key Gardner says he has been outspoken on issues around COVID and in his recommendations to the province. He has also been a member of at least one regional health table.

He will no doubt be involved in ongoing discussions, notably about second doses of AstraZeneca that the Ministry of Health is still sticking to in terms of 12 weeks apart — even as some are getting No. 2 well-within that time frame.

And as Simcoe-Muskoka this winter was the epicentre of the Delta variant that is getting worse across Ontario, the province said this afternoon that it is taking seriously the Delta variant, but that it can be controlled.

Gardner has repeatedly in recent weeks spoken with local media about the possibility of a fourth wave.

In 7 of the 34 Ontario health units the province where the Delta variant is accelerating the province is reducing that time. Simcoe-Muskoka is not one of them. They are Toronto, Peel, York, Halton, Waterloo, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph and Porcupine.

Gardner can be expected to comment on the lingering controversial issue of school openings.


  • Meanwhile, Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) has welcomed 60 clinical “externs” to help with COVID at the Barrie regional hospital.

They are students in various stages of their schooling in the fields of nursing, respiratory therapy, medicine or paramedic programs. They work with members of the interprofessional team under supervision of registered healthcare providers. Their duties include helping patients with care needs, preparing them for procedures or tests, taking vital signs and medical charting.


  • 12,107 cases to date
  • 55 new cases this week, 152 last week, which was 27% lower than the 207 the last week of May
  • 1 death in June, 18 in May, 25 in April, 12 in March
  • 3,895 Alpha variants so far, 148 Gamma, 26 Beta, 12 Delta
  • local cases have tested positive for the COVID-19 variant of concern UK B.1.1.7 (UK), 694 cases await type of variant testing
  • 411,500+ vaccines have been administered in Simcoe Muskoka
  • 361,680+ residents have had their first dose of vaccine, which represents over 60% of the population
  • 71% of adults 18 years and older have received one dose of vaccine
  • 38% of youth aged 12 to 17 have also been inoculated once
Figures show Simcoe-Muskoka has surpassed 60 per cent of residents with at least a first vaccine.


  • Muskoka hospitals, which have relatively escaped the worst of COVID, are expected to get busy now with the Ontario Medical Association saying that almost 16 million elective surgeries are backed up. The Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare recently announced that those operations have started to resume. But — as before — expect wait times backlogs as long if not longer.
  • Ontario’s 7-day average is 617 cases.
  • With 174.5 million cases to date and 3.7 million deaths, G7 leaders meeting in
    Carbis Bay, southwest England, are said to be planning to help fully-vaccinate everyone in the world by Christmas 2022. That’s according to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. That’s important because 90 per cent of countries in Africa will miss the September deadline for 10 per cent of the populations being vaccinated.
  • Moderna is shipping 7.1 million vaccines to Canada this week.
Tomorrow’s latest provincial reopening comes as cottagers like this family beating the heat at the Muskoka Wharf are already enjoying more freedom to enjoy local attractions.


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