Mark Clairmont | MuskokaTODAY.com

SIMCOE-MUSKOKA — With 100 per cent of local COVID cases now Delta variants, the health unit is reporting 30 more cases today.

Three are from Bracebridge, aged 18-34, two men and one woman. All are under investigation after reporting yesterday with first episodes the day before.

And 19 of the 30 who tested positive were unvaccinated, 4 were partially vaccinated and 7 were fully vaccinated.

Dr. Charles Gardner said that should be expected now with more people being vaccinated.

He said that last week 32 per cent of the region’s positive tests were “break-through cases” involving vaccinated residents.

He said that doesn’t take away from the efficacy of the successful vaccines.

But, he added, that 35 per cent of cases are now community acquired, which the health units says means “a sporadic case in an individual where most likely acquisition of illness is from somewhere within the community but not associated with a community outbreak. This also excludes transmission due to travel and due to close contact with a known case.”

Last week that number was between 20 and 25 per cent.

He said despite a 3 per cent dip in cases the past week — which was down to 196 from 203 the week before — with the fall weather soon driving people in out of the cold that could all change with indoor exposures.

But the “slight reduction is still better than a steep rise,” he said noting a prior seven-week hike.

Plus there are 250 active cases today, up 5 from last his last weekly update.

Thirteen people are in hospital, down 2 from Wednesday past. And 6 are in ICU, down also 2 from the same time.

They range in age from their 20s to 70s.

Of the 30 who tested positive yesterday, 19 are males, 11 females (ranging in ages from under 10 to 80+);  22 are under age 50; 27 are from Simcoe, 3 from Muskoka.

Gardner said the average age in July of those testing positive was 31, now it’s 32.

He said Essa Township remains the hotbed now, with 80 cases per 100,000 population, followed closely by Muskoka Lakes Township at 72 cases per 100,000 population.

Simcoe-Muskoka’s per 100,000 case number is 32 cases, a drop from 34 last week, which is the same number now as Ontario.

Gardner said there’s a “younger wave of COVID than in the past” among those 12+. They make up 18 per cent of cases, up from 13 per cent last week — and “double what it was in previous waves.”

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) is still monitoring two Muskoka COVID outbreaks at a recreational and amusement location and a construction site.

Three other outbreaks in Muskoka at a day camp, child care facility and overnight camp setting have ended.

As well, more people are getting their first dose with 27 per cent the first week of September.

And more males (52 per cent) than females, which he said is accounted for by the low turnout rate of males before now.

The medical officer of health noted that you’re 11 times more likely to get COVID if you are unvaccinated and 37 times more likely to end up in hospital without a jab.

He said while it will take “weeks” for Simcoe and Muskoka to meet the new provincial goal of 90 per cent vaccinated, he said right now they are “16th from the bottom” with first and second doses among 34 health units. Last week they ranked “15th from the bottom.”

Gardner said he wants to see the 90 per goal reached among all age groups — not just averaged overall, which could take weeks — if not longer to achieve.

And more school-aged kids 12+ are getting vaccines, including 1,240 the past week. That includes 549 with a first dose and 682 their second.

Another good sign, said Gardner, is that the local positivity rate has dropped to 2.1 per cent from 2.5 per cent.

Gardner said with vaccines being given in schools this month the health unit will have to juggle nursing staff who in October will return to dispensing the Grade 7 and 8 vaccines that were suspended last year. And possibly similar vaccines for kid age 6 who also get immunized, along with those 5 to 11.

Then there are the annual flu season vaccinations, which will soon begin.

Gardner noted that traditionally vaccines are given a month apart, but that he is awaiting guidelines on “co-administration” from the National Advisory Committee.

He also said that with the possibility of more new variants emerging and cases still going up around the world, that “vigilance” will remain vital as the virus could last for years.

Though he did note a good sign is that Denmark is lifting all its restrictions with 80 per cent coverage.

In addition: the health unit is seeking “legal counsel” on vaccination exemption rules; and it has received the full approval of all municipalities to seek temporary bank coverage while awaiting provincial government approval on cost over-runs.

Finally, Gardner wouldn’t comment when asked his thoughts on Justin Trudeau’s quip to a protester who made a rude comment about the prime minister’s wife, Sophie Gregoire. Trudeau asked the man: “Shouldn’t you be protesting at a hospital?”

“That’s a political, not a health matter,” said Gardner.


Health unit nurse Julie Charters was at the Gravenhurst Farmers’ Market today with their vaccine team as pop-up clinics continue toward the province’s goal of 90 per cent coverage, which Simcoe-Muskoka MOH Dr. Charles Gardner admitted at the same time this afternoon will take this region at least several more weeks to achieve.


  • 13,248 cases to date
  • 54 cases this week; 196 last week, which was 3% lower than the 203 cases the week before
  • From Dec. 22 onwards, there have been 194 confirmed COVID-19 cases among vaccinated individuals.
  • There was one COVID-19 related death reported in August and to date, there have been no deaths in September.
  • From July 18 to Sept. 11, the rate of COVID-19 infection among the unvaccinated vaccine-eligible Simcoe Muskoka population is 11 times higher than it is for fully vaccinated population and the rate of COVID-19 hospitalizations is 37 times higher.
  • 4,007 Alpha variants of concern, 168 Gamma, 34 Beta, 918 Delta
  • 661 cases await confirmation of variant
  • 857,592 vaccines have been administered
  • 442,770 residents have received one vaccine, which is 73% of the population
  • 83% of those 12+ had one vaccine
  • 81% of youth 12 to 17 have also received one vaccine


  • Yesterday Ontario vaccinated 35,691 people.
  • The province also now has 84.6 per cent vaccine coverage among those 12+ and 74.2 per cent of the total population fully vaccinated. See above to compare Simcoe-Muskoka stats.
  • Pope Francis can’t understand why people don’t get vaccinated. Maybe he can help Premier Jason Kenney who urged Albertans “for God’s sake get vaccinated.”
  • In Sydney, Australia, a man who broke out of prison in 1992 turned himself in because he was homeless and couldn’t find a job as the country continues to suffer from escalating COVID cases.

EMAIL: news@muskokatoday.com

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