August begins with rise in COVID-19 cases in Simcoe Muskoka

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) is logging nine new cases of COVID-19 since it last reported Friday, three of those cases are since Sunday; along with two hospitalizations in Simcoe Muskoka.

There are 40 active COVID-19 cases in the region, and the health unit says case counts have been climbing. Twenty-eight cases were reported the week of July 25, while the previous week saw an increase of 21 per cent, with 23 new infections reported.

The nine cases logged Tuesday were in Barrie (6), New Tecumseth (1), Oro-Medonte (1) and Georgian Bay (1).

An outbreak was declared at Orillia's Oak Terrace on Friday. Chief Medical Officer, Revera, Dr. Rhonda Collins said two staff members are infected, and no residents have contracted the virus to date.

As of Tuesday, more than 40 per cent of total cases in the region are considered to be a variant of concerns (VOC).

Of the 5,061 confirmed variant cases, 190 have tested positive for the highly contagious Delta variant, while another 670 tests have come back positive for a VOC and are awaiting confirmation.

VACCINATIONS IN SIMCOE MUSKOKA

Just over 69 per cent of eligible residents have had their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while almost 58 per cent are considered fully immunized.

Walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinics are being held this week across the Simcoe Muskoka District Health unit for people aged 12 years and up for either a first or second dose.

Second doses must be 28 days after a first dose mRNA vaccine or eight weeks after a first dose of AstraZeneca with informed consent.

No appointment is necessary at any of the SMDHU clinics listed on their website. People using the clinics will need to bring a health card, list of medications and dress for the weather as there may be a wait outdoors.

The SMDHU announced plans last week to close the mass immunizations clinics that have been open since Dec. 2020 in late August due to the increased vaccination rates.

The health unit said anyone with a vaccine appointment booked after Aug. 27 would be "notified and encouraged to move up their appointments or attend a walk-in clinic."

With files from CTV's Kim Phillips and CTV's Craig Momney