Region could be starting to see rise in COVID-19 curve
Health officials continue to urge people to stay home.
This week the province cracked down on public gatherings, reducing the allowable number to five, parks were closed to stop people from congregating, school closures were extended until the beginning of May, and people over 70 are urged to stay home, even avoiding trips for essentials.
At presstime, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) was reporting 66 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Ten are in hospital, 34 are self-isolating at home, four have died and 17 are classified as recovered, including two Clearview residents with cases linked to travel.
While the majority of cases are affecting people in the 35-64 age group (37), the health unit is reporting a first case in a teenager.
SMDHU Medical Officer Dr. Charles Gardner said, with nine cases logged on April 2, the district’s curve is possibly starting an upward rise, as is expected at this time.
Community transmission remains a major concern.
The majority of the cases (33) are linked to travel, 12 are categorized as having close contact with a case, and 19 are thought to be community-acquired, having no known contact with anyone infected with the virus.
“I am very concerned about community spread and I think in a very short time it will be overwhelmingly the dominant means of transmissions in our communities,” said Gardner. “I think even now, even though you can’t see it because surveillance is basically seeing the tip of the iceberg, the cases you see represent many others that you don’t see, that you don’t know of. I believe there are probably many cases of community transmission happening therefore people need to take their precautions and exercise the physical distancing.”
He said people need to stay home whenever possible, wash hands frequently and maintain a two-metre distance from others when out in public. Anyone who feels unwell should self-isolate at home for 14 days, all in an effort to flatten the curve, avoid the tragic outcome in other parts of the world, and not overburden the health care system.
On that note, Gardner is urging everyone to shelter in their primary residence, as to avoid putting an undue burden on the limited medical and supply resources of small communities.