Health officials in the Simcoe Muskoka District are so worried about the increasing spread of COVID, it has issued letters to businesses, organizations and residents and Chief Administrative Officers in each municipality, pleading for everyone to practice all public health measures to help reverse the increasing spread.
That health unit borders the North Bay Parry Sound Health Unit to the south and includes communities in the Huntsville area.
"We continue to see dramatic increases in the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 throughout Simcoe Muskoka," said Dr. Charles Gardner, SMDHU’s Medical Officer of Health, adding action is needed to protect "scarce health and public health resources."
"Unfortunately, our cases have continued to rise to a current weekly incidence rate of more than 80 cases per 100,000 persons as of December 2, which represents a doubling over the past four weeks. This places us among the health units with the highest incidence of COVID-19 in the province, well over the present provincial incidence," states Gardner.
The majority of those local cases have been among people who are not fully vaccinated, although there are also cases amongst vaccinated individuals.
Protective measures include:
- Businesses and organizations should host holiday gatherings remotely to avoid larger groups of individuals congregating, which can assist in spreading the virus.
- For businesses that host people for holiday celebrations and activities, minimize capacity within indoor settings and given the higher degree of risk (e.g., removing masks for eating and drinking) recommend limiting capacity to the number of people who can maintain physical distancing of two metres
- Enabling remote work for employees, where reasonably possible, to reduce the number of workers exposed to the risk of transmission at the workplace.
- Get vaccinated for whatever dose you are eligible for.
- Wearing a mask or face covering that covers your mouth, nose and chin during any period when they are in the indoor area of the premises.
- For individuals who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19, keeping gatherings to only those within their household, unless physical distancing is practised and/or face coverings are worn.
- For individuals who are fully vaccinated, keeping gatherings to a small number of people outside of their household. For the protection of all, preferably everyone should be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
If these collective efforts are not enough to stabilize or reverse the increasing transmission rate in Simcoe Muskoka the health unit may consider reinstating capacity limits that were lifted by the province in October.