Simcoe-Muskoka’s top doc is seeing too many red flags and may ask the province to move the region back into lockdown.
“I’m positioning now that what we’re seeing is probably the beginning of another wave.”– Dr. Charles Gardner, Simcoe-Muskoka Medical Officer of Health
Dr. Charles Gardner says there was a 30 per cent increase in COVID-19 cases in Simcoe-Muskoka last week compared to the week before. The case count had been declining since the start of the year. Many of the new cases here are the result of variant strains that have proven to be more transmissible.
What’s more, he says the region’s weekly incidence rate has come close to that of the province for the first time since last summer. In Simcoe-Muskoka there were 46 new cases per 100,000 people for the week of Feb. 14; the provincial incidence rate was 50 cases per 100,000 people.
“Our trajectory is not headed in the right direction,” said Dr. Gardner, “We need to be prepared to go into a shutdown again in the near future.”
Dr. Gardner attributes much of the increase to household transmission – one member of the household socializing or going out to work, bringing the virus home after contact with an infected person and passing it to family members who in turn pass it to others in their social circle or work environment.
That being the case, Dr. Gardner urges people to stay home, even though it is not a requirement at this time. “You should stay home unless you have an essential reason for leaving … seeking medical attention, going to your work, school, buying food or necessities, and physical activities.” And resist the urge, says Dr. Gardner, to invite friends over for a visit, or to visit other households.
“We need to behave as though there actually still is a Stay-at-Home order.”