Local health unit reports 29 cases of COVID; RVH hit testing capacity after 90 minutes

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) confirmed 29 cases of COVID-19 on Monday, its first update since Friday.

The SMDHU reported ten cases in Barrie, seven in New Tecumseth, four in Bradford, two each in Orillia and in Bracebridge, and one in Innsfil, Oro-Medonte, Clearview, and Essa Township. The majority, at 16, are between the ages of 18 and 34.

While this is the highest daily caseload addition announced by the SMDHU, it does represent three days’ worth of cases, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Previously, the local high stood at 18 cases in a day, set in May.

This comes amid a continued increase in demand for testing. In fact, the drive-thru testing centre at Barrie’s Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) closed to new registrants at around 10:30 Monday morning, barely 90 minutes after opening for the day. The reason behind it is a question of time: the line became so long that the wait time exceeded the clinic’s hours of operation. Not everyone could have gotten swabbed before the clinic closed at 3 p.m., so new registrants were turned away.

Those booking a test through RVH will now be directed to a satellite testing centre at 29 Sperling Drive. This is the former Barrie Police Service headquarters and has been repurposed as an assessment centre to help reduce the crowds at RVH.

The RVH assessment centre runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., seven days a week. The new assessment centre at the former police headquarters is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week. The Huronia Road assessment centre is for walk-ins only, and is open Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.