Mark Clairmont |

SIMCOE-MUSKOKA — There are more COVID cases than the government, health units and public know, but you’ll never know who are where and in what communities they live.

As of today the municipal locations of cases will no longer be disclosed by the health unit and province.

The reason, claims Dr. Charles Gardner, is staff can’t keep up with the surging Omicron spread hitting everywhere and so the data is no longer “reliable.”

And because the province said not to.

Gardner did say there are 300 official cases today in Simcoe and Muskoka, but because there are far too many that they can’t identify, they will no longer report on the geographic location of any of them.

Oddly, he did say there will be a daily breakdown on its website of cases between Muskoka and Simcoe. Just not the exact numbers in lower tier municipalities.

But a search of their website later this afternoon did not show them.

It’s those people who test positive, he said, with the likes of rapid tests and who can’t be reached for contact management which prevents them from being entered in to the data base for full public disclosure.

And the past two years’ of information is longer available on its website, including a geographic breakout.

“We know the home residence of everybody tested and entered in to the case and contact management system, whether they live in a congregate setting or they work in one and live somewhere else. We have that data, but everybody else in the community who is a case can not get access to such testing. So therefore we don’t know about it.”

The medical officer of health for the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) said increasing demands have led to large absenteeism among his own staff preventing follow-up.

He added, in response to our question last week, that about 4 per cent of the region’s 600,000 residents have tested positive over the past two years.

Gardner went on in his weekly media availability to acknowledge that the 15 per cent drop in cases last week is not an accurate indication of where Ontario and Simcoe-Muskoka are with COVID-19 and Omicron.

He did say there 8,362 active cases, up from 6,245 last week.

And that 31 people are in hospital, 7 in ICU.

Also 81 per cent of cases are no fully vaccinated, with 70 per cent of the total among those aged 40 to 80 years.

The region’s positivity rate is down to 21.8 per cent from 26 per cent a week ago; while Ontario’s positivity rate went up to 22.9 per cent from 21.3 per cent.

The province is providing more data on hospitalization and Gardner said that as of Jan. 10 there were 87 in regional hospitals — with just 34 of them local residents.

Gardner said 6 people died the past week in Simcoe County, ranging in age from 45 to 80+.

Kids 5 to 11 have now seen 71 per cent vaccinated, with more than 9,000 booked in the coming weeks.

But none have had their second shot yet 8 weeks after they became available in late November.

Gardner also said local staffing prevents vaccinations in schools.

WEDNESDAY: COVID P.H.0. NUMBERS: … 349 CASES IN SIMCOE-MUSKOKA (314 YESTERDAY) … ONTARIO 9,783 AND 46 DEATHS (7,951-21) … TORONTO 1,675 (1,649) YORK 964 (844), PEEL 1,060 (1,143) … NORTH BAY-PARRY SOUND 43 (39) … PORCUPINE 38 (26) … KINGSTON 106 (63) … HALTON 434 (373 …

Blooming Muskoka reopened in Gravenhurst Monday under new ownership. Kim Evans has taken over from Lana Austin and is looking forward to taking the chill off winter with bouquets of roses and other flowers. Evans has been working with Austin since August and moved in Saturday. She says Austin is still in town just retired.


  • 26,699 cases to date
  • 946 new cases this week
  • 3,026 cases last week, 15% lower than the 3,545 cases reported for the week of December 26.
  • From December 22 there have been 8,175 cases among vaccinated individuals
  • 6 deaths in January, 10 in December
  • From November 14th to January 8th, the rate of COVID-19 hospitalizations among the unvaccinated vaccine-eligible Simcoe Muskoka population is two times higher than it is for fully vaccinated population; the rate of ICU admissions is 22 times higher; and the rate of deaths is 7 times higher.
  • 207 Omicron cases
  • 1,448 cases are believed to Omicron, await confirmatory testing
  • 1,165,628 vaccines have been administered
  • 488,278 residents have received at least one vaccine, which represents 81% of the total population
  • 85% of the population 5+ have had at least one vaccine; including 82% of youth 12 to 17 s of age
  • 41% of children 5 to 11 have also received at least one dose of vaccine

4 new deaths overnight in Simcoe bring the total to 10 in January and all in Simcoe.


  • Now the province says millions of rapid test kits will be distributed for the reopening of schools. What happened to that promise in December?
  • Justin Trudeau won’t say if he supports taxing antivaxxers. He said Quebec’s plan to do so must meet legal requirements of Canada’s Federal Health Act. But Jason Kenney says he won’t — calling it unfair even though those refuse immunization are overwhelming hospitals.
  • 3,448 Ontarians hospitalized with COVID; 505 in ICU.
  • COVID cases jumped 55 per cent worldwide last week, according to WHO. The UN health agency reported 15 million more cases and 43,000+ deaths. Globally every region saw increases except for an 11 per cent drop in Africa.
  • China orders a second round of testing for all 14 million residents of Tianjin after 97 cases were found.


28 years of ‘Local Online Journalism’

Twitter: @muskokatoday, Facebook: mclairmont1

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