The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit confirmed nine new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the total number of local cases up to 21.
Almost all of the new cases are in Simcoe County, according to the health unit, and most of them are self-isolating.
The twenty-first case is in Muskoka, according to the Simcoe Muskoka health unit’s medical officer of health, Dr. Charles Gardner. Further information on the Muskoka case isn’t available at this time.
The eight new Simcoe County cases include two men in their 40s, two women in their 50s, a man in his 50s, a woman in her 30s, a man in his 20s and man in his 60s.
Of the eight new cases, a man in his 40s and a woman in her 50s have been hospitalized.
The source of infection for half of the eight new cases has been labeled as international travel-related. Two of the cases are classified as close contact, while two others are under investigation.
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“I think the really important takeaway for our community about this is that we’re starting to see quite a substantial ramp up in the number of cases and acceleration of the number of laboratory-confirmed cases,” Gardner said to reporters Wednesday.
“We’ve seen a substantial number of these cases — the community-acquired or under investigation — and the travel-related has really only been about just over half of the cases.”
According to Gardner, the health unit doesn’t have a complete picture of the people who have been affected by COVID-19.
“There are people in the community who are infected that we don’t know about,” Gardner said.
“They may be milder cases or they may be soon to present for assessment and be tested for us to find out, or they may be cases that have been assessed and told to recover at home but are unable to be tested because of the limited access to testing.“
So far, two people with COVID-19 in Barrie have died — both were men in their 70s who had close contact with one another, although the source of infection for one of them has been labeled as community-acquired.
In Ontario, there have been nine deaths related to the novel coronavirus. As of early Wednesday afternoon, there are 671 active COVID-19 cases in Ontario.
Map of Canadian COVID-19 cases:
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are asked to self-isolate for 14 days in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others.
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.
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