Simcoe Muskoka logs 8 new COVID-19 cases, plus two deaths

The Simcoe Muskoka health unit logged eight new COVID-19 cases and two virus-related deaths Wednesday.

Public health says a woman 65 to 79 and a man 45 to 64, both from Simcoe County, died after contracting the virus, bringing the region's total number of lives lost to 251 since the pandemic.

No new cases were identified in Barrie on Wednesday. The health unit listed cases in Innisfil (4), Clearview (1), Bradford (2) and Bracebridge (1).

There are currently 70 active cases, including 11 hospitalizations.

STEP 2 IN SIMCOE MUSKOKA

As the province enters Step 2 of the reopening plan Wednesday, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit issued a release urging continued adherence to public health measures.

"The progression to Step 2 is a welcome move forward. However, as we head into Canada Day and summer vacations, it is essential that we continue to follow all public health safety measures that are in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our communities," said Dr. Colin Lee, associate medical officer of health.

Under this next phase, size limits for gatherings and outdoor venues increase.

Limits for organized outdoor activities and gatherings increase to 25 people. Indoor social gatherings and organized public events with up to five people are allowed.

The health unit says face masks should be worn if physical distancing indoors or outdoors is not possible with people outside of your household.

Capacity limits on outdoor dining, essential and non-essential retail have increased, and shopping malls and personal services may reopen with limitations and restrictions in place.

Complete details on what can open in Step 2 are available here.

VACCINES IN SIMCOE MUSKOKA

All residents are eligible to book their COVID-19 vaccine at one of the clinics across the region or participating pharmacies.

Pop-up clinics in Bradford were added throughout select dates in July to help open more appointments.

Residents 12 and older who live, work or go to school in Bradford can book an appointment at the Bob Fallis Arena clinics on July 4, 8, 11 and 15 between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.

To date, 65 per cent of residents have had their first shot, while 28 per cent are fully vaccinated.

The numbers breakdown to show 75 per cent of adults 18+ have had at least one shot, and 55 per cent of children 12 to 17 have had their first dose. The health unit says the younger age group is lagging behind as public health urges children to get both doses before a return to school in September.

"I urge all individuals 12 years of age and older to get their full two-dose series of COVID-19 vaccinations as soon as they are able," Dr. Lee added.