Mark Clairmont |

SIMCOE-MUSKOKA — As difficult to download vaccine QR codes started becoming available today, more than half the region’s COVID cases were unvaccinated.

That’s 16 of 31 people who tested positive.

The other 15 cases were fully vaccinated.

Among them all was just 1 Muskoka resident — a Huntsville man who reported yesterday, with a first episode Wednesday. His case is under investigation.

This as Simcoe-Muskoka’s medical officer of health released new mandatory rules regarding sports and recreational participation and venues.

Dr. Charles Gardner issued his “letter of instruction” that makes vaccinations the law as of Nov. 25 for those 12+..

That gives all volunteers, coaches and players six weeks to be fully immunized and to provide proof.


Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) reports 1 more hospitalization (12 now), 171 active cases (10 newly resolved) and 81 cases going in to the Saturday, the final day of weekly reporting.

The latest local news comes as the U.S. has announced Nov. 8 as the date for Canadian snowbirds and other non-essential travellers to the States to cross the border again.

And it comes as QR codes are now — not so easily — available through the province of Ontario’s difficult to find and navigate website.

Friday’s first day of access to the quick read codes allows those born in January to April to download the app. Saturday it will be available to those whose birthdays fall between May and August, followed on Sunday by everyone else from September to December.

‘Letter of instruction’ from MOH

SMDHU is issuing a letter of instruction to owners, operators and persons responsible for any indoor facilities used for sports and recreational fitness activities in the County of Simcoe, the District of Muskoka and the Cities of Orillia and Barrie.

Effective Thursday, Nov. 25 owners, operators and persons responsible for any indoor facilities or any premises or part of a premises used for sports and recreational fitness activities in Simcoe Muskoka will be required to ensure that each individual, age 12 years and older provides identification and proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 or a valid medical exemption to attend the facility’s indoor area for coaching, teaching, instructing, officiating at organized sports, or volunteering.

They must also comply with all other regulations and requirements under the Reopening Ontario Act, 2020, unless specifically exempt by these instructions, in addition to any COVID-19 regulatory requirements, local bylaw or health unit Order that are in force or effect.

The letter of instruction does not apply to individuals aged 12-17 years who participate in organized youth sports.

“Sport and recreational fitness activities provide physical and mental health benefits to participants. However, many of these activities are high-intensity and involve heavy breathing, prolonged close contact and lack of masks for source control, putting individuals at greater risk for COVID-19 transmission,” said Dr. Charles Gardner, medical officer of health.

“Volunteers, coaches and officials frequently have close and prolonged contact with participants including youth and children, some of whom are unvaccinated. Requiring individuals in these roles who are 12 years of age and older to provide proof of vaccination when accessing indoor facilities used for sport and fitness activities can greatly reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, thus improving protection and limiting the spread.”

SMDHU is one of several public health units throughout Ontario, upon consultation with the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, that is instructing facility operators to require those aged 12 and older who coach, officiate, or volunteer at indoor organized sports to show proof of vaccination. Vaccination of individuals born prior to 2010 is strongly recommended.

SMDHU reminds residents that the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is through vaccination and that eligible residents can obtain their vaccine through participating pharmacies, primary care providers, and pop-up clinics. It is also essential to follow current public health measures, 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.

To learn more about COVID-19 vaccines and current public health safety measures and requirements, visit


The beat goes on at Currie Brothers Music, where Andrew, left, and Robert are keeping their cool shop going in downtown Gravenhurst with all kinds of COVID safety protocols.


  • 13,759 cases to date
  • 81 cases this week; 134 last week, which was, 37% higher than the 98 cases the week before
  • Since Dec. 22 there have been 332 cases among vaccinated individuals
  • 1 death in October, 5 in September
  • From Aug. 15th to Oct. 9, 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 35 times higher.
  • 4,007 Alpha variants of concern, 168 Gamma, 34 Beta, 1,373 Delta
  • 663 cases await confirmation of VOC
  • 894,635 vaccines have been administered
  • 456,437 residents have received at least one vaccine, which represents 76% of the total population
  • 86% of the population 12+ have had at least one vaccine
  • 85% of youth 12 to 17 have also received at least one vaccine

A dozen people are in hospital today.


Premier Doug Ford, who opened craft beer sales at farmers’ markets, says he fears losing hospital health care workers if they are forced to be vaccinated. The TTC has no such fears and will fire those who don’t. Ditto for Newfoundland and Labrador provincial civil servants — and a growing number of other government and NGOs.

Ford also said new rules coming soon could be tailored to local needs and not be as widespread as has been the case across the province previously.

As some Alberta firefighters threaten to sue over forced vaccinations, scientists the Los Alamos Laboratory in New Mexico are already going to court for the same reason.

A New Brunswick pastor is the latest religious leader to face charges for conducting services without ensuring masking laws are enforced.

France says those unvaccinated will have to pay for their own coronavirus tests now.

Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) says 43,000 people may have COVID after being falsely told they didn’t.

As the LGBQT+ community celebrates being blood plasma donation testing in Calgary and London, Ont., debate begins over whether organ transplant recipients should include the unvaccinated.

With frontline health care workers receiving appropriate praise and risking burnout and job shortages, the other unsung heroes are the IT workers. They keep critical ventilators and other hospital equipment running 24/7. And as everyone with a computer knows, that can be finicky and frustrating.


28 years of ‘Local Online Journalism’

Twitter: @muskokatoday, Facebook: mclairmont1

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