Mark Clairmont | MuskokaTODAY.com

SIMCOE-MUSKOKA — As Ontario families ready to return to kids to school Monday amid ever-increasing COVID cases, Quebec has taken the first bold step in proposing a health care contributing tax on those unvaccinated without medical exemptions.

Today Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) reports 364 cases — including 26 in Muskoka Tuesday.

That follows 337 reported yesterday and 66 over the weekend.

This as the province reported 7,951 new cases, but Public Health Ontario says the real number is likely higher due to the current testing policy.

Health Minister Christine Elliott also says Ontario will now distinguish between people admitted to the hospital due to a COVID-19 infection and people admitted for other reasons with COVID-19.

With hospitals fighting to keep people alive, she said 3,220 people are hospitalized now — including  477 in ICU.

Across Simcoe-Muskoka the health unit says 38 are in hospital today with 2 more admitted overnight.

Gravenhurst Manor responds to outbreak

Meanwhile, The Manor at Gravenhurst, which the health unit reported had 5 cases on Jan. 6, says in a release that it was “declared in a COVID-19 outbreak on January 6th, by our local Public Health. We currently have three residents who tested positive on rapid antigen tests and are isolating awaiting their PCR test results.”

Michelle Gettins-Magill, executive director of the downtown home on Muskoka Road, said: “We have PCR tested all residents and staff to ensure we have an accurate picture of any potential COVID cases within the home, and those results are pending at this time. “Daily rapid tests for both residents and staff have been negative, with the exception of the three residents mentioned above.”

She added: “Of note, all our residents have had 3 doses of the vaccine, and we are so grateful to our staff who are all double vaccinated, with many having received, or booked to receive, their 3rd dose.

“We continue to encourage staff and essential caregivers to receive their 3rd dose boosters and encouraging our residents to receive their 4th doses. We know the vaccines are having a very positive effect, along with rapid testing and great IPAC training, in minimizing the impact of the virus.”

The health unit also lists six other Muskoka health facilities with “active” resident and staff cases as of Jan. 11:

  • Castle Peak, Bracebridge 5-5
  • Muskoka Landing, Huntsville, 5 staff
  • The Pines, Bracebridge 12-7
  • Muskoka Shores, Gravenhurst 48-12
  • South Muskoka Memorial Hospital 0-0
  • Fairvern, Huntsville with 0-0

Tuesday’s SMDHU cases:

TUESDAY: COVID P.H.0. NUMBERS: … 314 CASES IN SIMCOE-MUSKOKA (404 YESTERDAY) … ONTARIO 7,951 AND 21 DEATHS (9,706-12) … TORONTO 1,649 (1,879) YORK 844 (1,033), PEEL 1,143 (1,310) … NORTH BAY-PARRY SOUND 39 (46) … PORCUPINE 26 (48) … KINGSTON 63 (60) … HALTON 373 (437) …

There are lights at the end of this tunnel – at least in downtown Bracebridge where while their ice fest has been cancelled this year the glimmer of hope remains in the remnants of its lovely pre-Christmas Festival of Lights.


  • 26,406 cases to date
  • 663 cases this week
  • 3,015 cases last week, 15% lower than the 3,545 cases reported for the week of December 26.
  • From December 22nd, 2020 onwards, there have been 7,997 confirmed COVID-19 cases among vaccinated individuals.
  • 2 deaths in January, 10 in December
  • 206 Omicron cases
  • 1,407 cases considered suspect Omicron awaiting confirmation
  • 1,158,478 vaccines have been administered
  • 487,977 residents have received at least one vaccine, which represents 81% of the total population
  • 85% of the population 5+ have had one vaccine, including 82% of youth 12 to 17
  • 41% of children 5 to 11 have also received at least one vaccine

Among the 3,220 Ontarians in hospital 38 are in Simcoe-Muskoka – two more than yesterday.
Here’s a comparative look at the 26,406 cases in Muskoka, above, and Simcoe below.


  • After struggling last year at this time to find enough vaccines, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the country now has enough for third and fourth vaccines. Canada cornered part of the market early on by ordering and procuring as many doses as it could.
  • 49 of 63 First Nations in Manitoba have active cases.

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