Mark Clairmont |

SIMCOE-MUSKOKA — Ten new COVID cases in Simcoe Thursday come as the coronavirus numbers are creeping back up.

Nothing like a year ago, but enough to see more people wearing masks ahead of what could be a delay in reopening plans.

No cases today were in Muskoka, but double-digits to the south are a first in weeks.

And with just weeks to go till schools open — with more or less students about to return — mandatory masks appear to be on the horizon for more sectors of the economy.

Prime Minister Trudeau is weighing whether to make face coverings part of the federal workforce uniform attire.

In Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath now supports mandatory vaccination for education workers and says it’s not a charter right to refuse. She said she was wrong to suggest so yesterday.

Meanwhile, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) is reminding residents that Step 4 can only to lift most COVID-19 restrictions once provincial vaccination coverage targets are met.

Even then, it says in a release today, there will be higher targets to aim for, to ensure adequate community protection against the transmissible Delta variant.

They say that as of Aug. 4, 79 per cent of eligible individuals aged 12 and over in Simcoe and Muskoka have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine and 66 per cent have received their second dose.

Ontario has said that to be able to leave Step 3 that 80 per cent of the eligible population aged 12 and over must have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 75 per cent having received their second, with no public health unit having less than 70 per cent fully vaccinated.

But SMDHU says the eventual target locally is that 90 per cent of the whole population will be fully immunized, a level that will help provide herd immunity to protect individuals who are unable to be vaccinated, and which will take community-wide concerted effort to reach.

Vaccines are available at participating pharmacies, some primary care offices and at mass immunization clinics for both those with booked appointments and those who prefer to walk in.

Health unit staff may also be providing vaccines in the community at beaches, parks, farmer’s markets, sports complexes and outdoor retail areas, making it easier than ever to get vaccinated. Whether at a clinic or out in the community, SMDHU staff providing vaccinations will be wearing blue COVID-19 Vaccine t-shirts and their SMDHU employee badge for identification.

Residents and visitors aged 12 years and older are encouraged to add getting their COVID-19 vaccines to their summer to do list — before the start of the school year and the arrival of cooler fall weather brings people indoors.

SMDHU still reminds the public to follow current public health measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 including staying home when feeling ill, maintaining a physical distance of at least 2 metres from those living outside of your household, wearing a mask indoors and outdoors when physical distancing is not possible, covering your cough, and washing your hands regularly.

It says to learn more about public health safety measures and reopening guidelines under Ontario’s Roadmap to Reopen Step 3, visit

THURSDAY: COVID BY THE NUMBERS (Public Health Ontario) … 5 CASES IN SIMCOE-MUSKOKA  (4 YESTERDAY) … ONTARIO 213 AND 14 DEATHS (139-11) … TORONTO 44 (26), YORK 18 (15), PEEL 31 (18) … NORTH BAY-PARRY SOUND 0 (0) …  PORCUPINE 0 (0) …

Gerry Lawrence, the popular doorman at recently-sold Peter’s Players, was busy today helping at the weekly Thursday GAP food distribution day at the United Church in Gravenhurst.


  • 12,395 cases to date
  • 15 new cases this week, 28 last week, which was 22% higher than the 23 cases reported for the week of July 18.
  • 0 deaths in August, 4 in July, 6 in June
  • 4,000 Alpha variants, 167 Gamma, 34 Beta, 195 Delta
  • 672 cases await confirmation of VOC
  • 784,638 vaccines have been administered in Simcoe Muskoka
  • 419,600+ residents have received at least one vaccine, which represents 69% of the population
  • 79% of the population 12 years and older have had one vaccine
  • 69% of youth 12 to 17 have also had their first vaccine
The health unit notes 38 active COVID cases in the region.


  • For the second straight day North Bay-Parry Sound and Porcupine health units are reporting back-to-back days with no new cases.
  • Quebec reports 305 cases today and says it will implement vaccine passports as Delta takes a strong hold.
  • Manitoba school kids return Sept. 7, but without mandatory mask rules. Face coverings will be optional.
  • In Ontario kids can sing again without worry of spreading COVID — at least at day care as new provincial guidelines that also allow visitors inside to the consternation of some operators.
  • Kids in Florida and Texas are ending up in hospital in higher numbers. In one Florida hospital 46 pediatric cases were admitted and 22 others were suspected. In Texas 142 children have  confirmed cases and 135 in Florida.
  • Donald Trump is being urged to call on his supporters to get vaccinated. That comes from Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham who says U.S. hospitals are being “wreaked with havoc” by the deadly disease.
  • France and Germany are ignoring WHO by proceeding with booster shots. WHO wants vaccines saved for countries where people have not even had one vaccine, let alone two.



28 years of ‘Local Online Journalism’

Twitter: @muskokatoday, Facebook: mclairmont1

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