With nearly 200 new infections, Simcoe Muskoka records highest single-day COVID-19 case count

With Omicron, health unit is going to be limited in its ability to follow-up cases

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has reported some record-breaking numbers, and except for maybe one, there wasn’t much cause for celebration.

The health unit reported 197 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, single-day high for new infections. Of those, 145 are breakthrough cases.

The region’s positivity rate of 6.8 per cent is also a record, as there was a jump of more than 1,000 active cases in the last week.

On a positive note, Simcoe Muskoka Medical Officer of Health Dr. Charles Gardner said the region has now delivered one million doses of vaccine, and it happened on the one-year anniversary of the immunization program.

Gardner said community exposure has been most common in places of worship, office settings, recreational and fitness centres, construction sites and food premises.

There are 1,495 active cases of COVID-19 in Simcoe Muskoka, and there are 31 people hospitalized with the virus, eight of them in ICU.

Gardner said as case counts are anticipated to grow because of the more infectious Omicron variant, the health unit may not be able to test people sufficiently.

“The people’s ability to access testing becomes compromised by the sheer number of cases that we will have in the district or the province.”

He said with Omicron, all health units are going to be very limited in their ability to follow-up cases.

“In effect, we will have to prioritize the cases we do follow-up,” Gardner noted. “We do have assistance from a provincial workforce, as well. They’ll be following most of our cases and we’re going to be following the cases that involve congregate settings in healthcare settings, long-term care facilities, group homes and retirement homes, and the other cases will be followed by the provincial workforce.”

In all instances, Gardner said they will be taking less data and history associated with these cases.

“In many instances, cases will be asked to follow-up with their own contacts to advise them that they should go into quarantine.”

Gardner said as case counts rise, and it does, in fact, follow the trajectory that is anticipated with the Ontario Science Table report, there will be an increasing number of cases for which people will have trouble accessing testing in the first place, or even if they do obtain testing, would not be reached by either the provincial workforce or local public health.

“One of the complications of all of this is we will have a reduced level of information about our cases, about the venues in which they may have obtained their infection. We would be less likely to be able to report on outbreaks.”

So one of the complications of all of this is we will have a reduced level of information about our cases about the venues in where they may have obtained their infection. And we would be less likely to be able to report on outbreaks