Simcoe Muskoka showing third wave recovery with 9 new COVID-19 cases

The Simcoe Muskoka health unit logged nine new COVID-19 cases Wednesday and no deaths.

Five of the cases reported Wednesday are in Penetanguishene. The health unit said all five are associated with an "out of jurisdiction outbreak in a corrections facility."

It added the individuals were transferred to Central North Correctional Centre to isolate, noting the jail is not dealing with an outbreak.

The remaining cases are listed in Ramara (2), Wasaga Beach (1) and Barrie (1).

There are currently 110 active cases in the region.

The health unit reports 14 residents are battling COVID-19 in the hospital. Of those, seven are in the intensive care unit.

During a live update on Tuesday, the region's medical officer of health said there had been a 33 per cent reduction in the number of infections over the past week.

Dr. Charles Gardner called the single-digit daily case counts "an indicator of the progress that we've been making in recovering from the third wave."

DELTA VARIANT

The province recently added Simcoe Muskoka to its list of Delta variant hot spots.

To date, 33 cases have tested positive for the B.1.617.2 Delta variant in the region, a 54 per cent increase since last week.

"It's important to assume that change to Delta dominance among COVID-19 cases is happening everywhere in our District," Gardner said.

The Delta variant is reportedly 50 per cent more contagious than other COVID-19 strains.

"Because it's more transmissible, it will become more dominant across the province," he noted.

VACCINES

The Simcoe Muskoka health unit reports 64 per cent of residents have gotten their first shot, while 19 per cent have had both.

The numbers break down to show 74 per cent of adults 18+ have had at least one dose, and 54 per cent of children 12 to 17 have had their first.

"Everybody needs to pursue and get immunization when you're eligible at your first opportunity, the first and the second dose, regardless of where you live," Gardner stated.

The medical officer of health said a single dose of the vaccine is about 30 per cent more effective in fighting the virus, while two doses of mRNA vaccines are 80 per cent effective.

He added two doses of AstraZeneca are just over 60 per cent effective against COVID-19.

Starting Wednesday, adults 18+ who received their first shot in May can book their second dose.

The province said children 12 to 17 will become eligible for their second dose between Aug. 9 and Aug. 22, with certain exceptions.

Complete information on Simcoe Muskoka's vaccine program, including how to book an appointment, is available here.