Mark Clairmont |

SIMCOE-MUSKOKA — Muskoka is a new hot spot for COVID-19.

The district has for the first time topped Simcoe — and Ontario — in the number of cases per 100,000 population.

Dr. Charles Gardner, medical officer of health, said today “Muskoka needs to be aware of that.”

And that residents should keep to their cohorts and continue with wearing masks in public indoors — and outdoors.

Especially as cases rise among children rise everywhere.

So it’s a good thing, he said, that the health unit has just now received its first shipment of the Pfizer kids vaccine.

Health officials will begin distributing it Friday. Pharmacies have also received shipments.

Already 6,705 appointments have been booked for kids as of Wednesday. That’s among about 45,000 eligible children aged 5 to 11.

Upcoming vaccine clinics will focus on kids and those yet to receive first and second vaccines. Including kids aged 4 who turn 5 in 2021.

However, anyone eligible to receive a booster shot can still book an appointment.

Already more than 22,000 people have received booster shots.

All this as today 9 more people in Muskoka tested positive — 5 of them kids in Huntsville 0-17. In total 60 cases were reported across the region.

This follows 52 cases in Muskoka Since last Wednesday’s reporting.

Since Sunday this week there have been 33.

Already this week, region-wide, there have been 175 cases logged by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU). Since last Wednesday there have been 447 cases.

This is the fifth week that cases have risen Simcoe-Muskoka. Last week there were 415 and the week before 332 — a 25 per cent increase.

Dr. Charles Gardner said Muskokans “need to be aware” that the district’s number of cases per 100,000 population last week was at 81 — compared to 67 for Simcoe.

Combined, the region was at 69 cases per 100,000 populations.

That’s more than double Ontario’s 31 per 100,000 number over the same time.

In Bracebridge the per 100,000 case number was 107 and in Huntsville 92.

But Dr. Charles Gardner, medical officer of health, says that won’t mean more vaccine clinics in Muskoka. He said “equity” of access will remain the same as previously when Simcoe had more cases, but Muskoka received the same relative number of clinics.

Muskoka’s cases today are:

  1. Gravenhurst woman, 35-44, under investigation, reported Nov. 23, with a first episode Nov. 18
  2. Huntsville girl, 0-17, under investigation, reported Nov. 23, with a first episode Nov. 22
  3. Huntsville girl, 0-17, under investigation, reported Nov. 23, with a first episode Nov. 22
  4. Huntsville boy, 0-17, under investigation, reported Nov. 23, with a first episode Nov. 22
  5. Huntsville boy, 0-17, outbreak, reported Nov. 23, with a first episode Nov. 22
  6. Huntsville boy, 0-17, under investigation, reported Nov. 23, with a first episode Nov. 22
  7. Huntsville woman, 18-34, under investigation, reported Nov. 23, with a first episode Nov. 22
  8. Gravenhurst man, 35-44, travel related, reported Nov. 23, with a first episode Nov. 18

Of today’s 60 cases, 38 were unvaccinated, 20 fully vaccinated and 2 partially vaccinated (1 of 2 shots).

And 37 were male, 23 females; 56 were sporadic and 4 from school or child care outbreaks.

As well, 28 per cent were under age 12 (mostly in school/care settings) including 9 of those in Muskoka.

One person in Simcoe died (among 3 there the past week).

Gardner said vaccine rates for those 12+ have gone up 1 per cent each for first and second doses the past week to 88 and 85 per cent respectively.

The MOH says to expect the 38 per cent of fully vaccinated people testing positive now to rise even as more people get vaccinated.

He did point out that health units in Kingston and southwestern Ontario, including Elgin and St. Thomas and in the north Sudbury and Algoma have also experienced increases.

Meanwhile, Gardner said November’s number of cases are almost the same as September and October combined.

And that since Oct. 1 there’s been a regular increase of 3.7 per cent cases.

That trajectory means that in two weeks there could be 100 cases per day.

He also noted that in the past eight weeks the number of unvaccinated people is an average of 13 years younger than those who are vaccinated.

As well, 20 per cent of people unvaccinated are under age 40 — but that nobody under 40 who is fully vaccinated is in hospital.

Yesterday Gardner issued two more “Letters of Instruction” to businesses and the community that in part said children 12+ must be vaccinated to participate in sports; and an order that anyone 18+ who tests positive must self isolate along with anyone else in their home is unvaccinated.

He also said attending big outdoor events like the Dec. 5 Bracebridge Santa Claus should be OK —  but as long as everyone wears their mask and takes reasonable distancing precautions. Otherwise, he said he said he hasn’t heard of any other health units having related problems.


More than 6,700 children aged 5 to 11 have been booked for the smaller dose Pfizer kids vaccine, which will begin being distributed by the health unit Friday.


  • 15,210 cases to date
  • 175 cases this week
  • 415 week before, which was 25% higher than the 332 cases reported for the week of Nov. 7.
  • From December 22 there have been 801 confirmed COVID-19 cases among vaccinated individuals.
  • 12 deaths in November, 5 each in October and September
  • From Sept. 26 to Nov. 20, the rate of COVID-19 infection among the unvaccinated vaccine-eligible Simcoe Muskoka population is seven times higher than it is for fully vaccinated population and the rate of COVID-19 hospitalizations is 12 times higher.
  • 4,008 Alpha variants of concern, 169 Gamma, 34 Beta, 2,179 Delta
  • 932,670 vaccines have been administered
  • 465,823 residents have had at least one vaccine, which represents 77% of the total population
  • 88% of those 12+ have had at least one vaccine
  • 88% of youth 12 to 17 have also received at least one vaccine

There were 60 cases in the region today, including 7 in Huntsville and 2 in Gravenhurst.


  • Quebec reports 882 cases and 7 deaths.
  • 137 in hospital in Ontario, including 7 from Saskatchewan. And 84 are on ventilators.
  • A bomb hoax in Wales and Wuhan has led U.K. police to charge a man who mailed packages early in the pandemic to derail vaccine production.
  • Germany has reached 100,000 deaths, one of the latest countries in the EU to do so.
  • In the Czech Republic they are now reporting 26,000 cases a day, with a vaccine coverage rate of just 58 per cent.
  • Chapman’s ice cream, the popular Canadian company, is under social media attack for its policy allowing unvaccinated workers to only require twice-weekly rapid testing. It is also giving a $1 per hour raise to staff who are vaccinated.


28 years of ‘Local Online Journalism’

Twitter: @muskokatoday, Facebook: mclairmont1

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