Official health advice is to avoid holiday gatherings

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Local health officials are recommending that people not attend indoor public gatherings with people outside of their immediate household this Christmas.
Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit Medical Officer of Health Dr. Charles Gardner dished out the advice during his weekly media briefing, as he reported a large jump in cases in the region.
The reproduction rate is up substantially at 30.3 per 100,000 population (32.4 when factoring out Muskoka, which has a low case count) and the virus’ doubling time (44.8 days) is going down, meaning the spread is faster. He noted this is still considerably lower than the provincial rate.
This week, there have been 165 cases reported, more than in any other week. The large jump puts a strain on health care resources.
“We remain challenged in our ability to follow cases and contacts,” said Gardner. “We wish to reach all of them within 24 hours, or at least a minimum of 90 per cent, and we remain at 84.1 per cent of contacts and 86 per cent for our cases.”
“If we continue now with the higher incidence of cases and with a higher per cent positivity we would meet the criteria for the orange restrict status. I think that’s an important heads-up for people about the potential for us to be moving into orange at some point in the future if we continue with that level of activity,” said Gardner.
As part of Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health, Mulmur moved into the orange on Monday.
With the “large jump in cases” Gardner is urging caution when it comes to all holiday gatherings, including staff parties and welcoming students home from university.
Since September there has been a steady increase in cases amongst youth under 18.
Gardner said a temporary COVID-19 testing site was set up at Nottawasaga Pines Secondary School (NPSS) to help test students relating to two outbreaks at Angus schools. There are seven cases at NPSS and four at Our Lady of Grace Catholic School.

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