COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations rise among those immunized in Simcoe Muskoka

Vaccination rates across Simcoe Muskoka have risen above 80 per cent, but the number of immunized patients admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 has also increased.

The region's medical officer of health said the number of "breakthrough cases" would continue to rise.

There are currently eight COVID-19 positive patients in local hospitals, half of whom are vaccinated.

"Three of the four in the intensive care unit were fully immunized," said Dr. Charles Gardner during a COVID-19 update on Wednesday.

The region's top doctor noted that 39 per cent of cases in the past week were "breakthrough cases," meaning fully vaccinated individuals.

Still, he said this isn't unexpected.

"The proportion of our cases that are breakthrough cases will go up over time. That does not change the degree of protection for people who received immunization," Gardner said.

The medical officer added that the vaccine offers a "high degree of protection" against COVID-19.

"In fact, if you're not immunized, you're 10 times more likely to become a case and 23 times more likely to be admitted to the hospital," Gardner said.

He mentioned the rise in vaccinated patients or cases is due to the widespread vaccination coverage for the region's population.

"We expect it to increase over time because it is partly a function of how complete our vaccination coverage is for the population," he noted.

Despite the rise in vaccinated cases, local case counts have fallen in five of the past six weeks.

However, Gardner said it's still too early to know what, if any, impact Thanksgiving get-togethers will have on infection rates.

This time last year, cases surged 15 per cent.

With files from CTV's Mike Arsalides