Local health unit dealing with slew of outbreaks including schools, daycare, hair salon

"That's a substantial increase in the number of outbreaks," says local medical officer of health

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) is monitoring three outbreaks in educational settings as of Tuesday afternoon, including a private daycare in Barrie.

“We currently have 13 active outbreaks up from five last week,” said SMDHU medical officer of health Dr. Charles Gardner. “That’s a substantial increase in the number of outbreaks.”

On Tuesday, it was confirmed an outbreak was affecting Hillcrest Public School in Barrie, with one cohort and classroom impacted, the school is otherwise open. This comes following the region’s first school setting outbreak at Bradford District High School.

Dr. Gardner says an outbreak has been declared at a private licenced childcare centre in Simcoe County, but couldn’t provide details on its location. “We don’t give the names for the outbreaks in childcare centres, as they are privately run facilities,” said Dr. Gardner Tuesday afternoon. “Please be assured that all individuals involved have been contacted directly and informed of the situation and those required to be in isolation.”

Gardner says the same is true for another outbreak reported in Barrie, that of a hair salon affecting some employees and clients. Gardner says two customers and three staff tested positive recently. “We’ve been able to reach all customers who are contacts as well as other staff members who were contacts, because of the records that they kept with regards to their clientele,” Gardner added. “We notified some 95 individuals in order to determine who would need to be into in self-isolation. And we continue to monitor those individuals.”

This is one of five workplace outbreaks the health unit has reported.

This comes as the health unit continues to monitor an outbreak at Simcoe Manor in Beeton, in which ten people have lost their lives. On Tuesday, it was confirmed another two residents of the home have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the number to 42. Twenty-nine staff members have tested positive to date.

The health unit also reports COVID-19-related outbreaks at Riverwood Senior Living in Alliston, Granite Ridge Retirement Facility in Gravenhurst, and Waterford Retirement Community in Barrie.