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It’s time to clamp down on gathering, warns health unit official

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A “worrisome” increase in COVID-19 cases in the region, some of which are connected to “social interaction,” has the local medical officer of health recommending a rollback on social circles.

Dr. Charles Gardner, medical officer of health for Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, said today he is recommending people go back to limiting their close contact to those in their own household.

This month, the health unit is tracking nine clusters of cases, six of which are at multi-unit dwellings where young adults are cohabitating.

In the last 10 days, the region’s health unit has confirmed 54 new cases of COVID in Simcoe-Muskoka. There were 38 new cases in Barrie residents, and 33 of those were individuals between 18 and 34 years old. In the first week of August, the health unit reported a total of four COVID cases.

For the first time since the pandemic began, the average age of new cases in the region is 30 years old.

Gardner said some of the new Barrie cases were students who were living in a multi-unit dwelling and were close contacts. In some cases, one person acquired the coronavirus in the community and it spread through the household.

“There’s social interaction links,” said Gardner, noting he hasn’t specifically been told of house parties linking cases.

There are now more than 50 active cases of COVID-19 in the region, compared to some weeks in August where there were fewer than a dozen active cases in Simcoe County and Muskoka District.

“The trajectory is definitely going up in a very worrisome way,” said Gardner. “I think we need to revisit our control measures in the community.”

The doctor is officially advising residents in the region go back to just household members for close contact and shrink down their social circles.

Social circles were introduced through the province’s reopening strategy as part of Stage 3. The idea was to have a group of no more than 10 individuals in an exclusive social circle who could have close contact.

Gardner said the increase the region and the province is seeing now goes back to the statistics and levels of COVID in Ontario during the first phase of reopening.

He also cautioned people against attending large informal gatherings, even if they fall within the province’s allowable levels of 50 people indoors or 100 people outdoors.

“I would recommend you shrink that down as much as you can, below 10 if possible, and keep your physical distance of two metres,” said Gardner. “Think in terms of what is essential.”

More than 65 per cent of the cases reported by the health unit this month are community-acquired or close contact. Another 20 per cent are under investigation still.

“We have to address transmission in the community,” said Gardner, referring to the upswing and clusters of cases in the region, particularly in Barrie. “That takes us right back to reducing social and public gatherings.”

The health unit is monitoring the regional and provincial trajectories closely to see what other recommendations it will make for control measures.

“There’s inertia that comes with an upswing in cases … there’s the cases we know about and the cases we don’t know about that are incubating,” said Gardner. “When it’s going up, there’s a very high likelihood that what you don’t see is bigger than what you see today. So, it’s really important that we do all that we can to get on top of this and bring it into control again … if we don’t, it has all the potential of becoming a substantial second wave.”

The doctor acknowledged that it will be hard for those who have returned to work or whose children have returned to school to keep close contact limited to their household and not have anyone in their social circle.

“Control what you have control over,” said Gardner. “You can control the contact you have in your social life.”

He noted workplaces and schools have become controlled environments due to health measures and guidelines issued by the province and local health units.

“The great risk … is the connection we make in our social lives,” said Gardner.

Currently, the reproductive rate of COVID-19 in Simcoe-Muskoka is 1.3, which means every person with the virus infects another 1.3 other people.

Source:- OrilliaMatters

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7 COVID-19 cases linked to Yonge Street Warehouse – CBC.ca

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Toronto Public Health (TPH) says seven people who have tested positive for COVID-19 went to a Yonge Street restaurant within the last month.

Of the seven, five are staff members and two are patrons. All of which attended Yonge Street Warehouse, at 336 Yonge St., between Sept. 10 and Sept. 17.

The health agency wants to notify staff and patrons who visited the restaurant during the 8-day period about a potential exposure to the virus. 

TPH said they have followed up with all known close contacts and those individuals have been asked to self-isolate for 14 days and go for testing. 

Around 1,700 people may have been at the venue during this time, TPH said, however, people not already contacted are viewed as low risk.

“If you were at the Yonge Street Warehouse between September 10 to 17 but have not been contacted by TPH, you are not identified as a close contact,” read a statement released on Saturday.

Nevertheless, the health agency is still urging anyone who was there during the exposure time to monitor themselves for symptoms for 14 days after their last visit. 

If symptoms develop, the agency asks you to contact TPH, seek testing and immediately self-isolate.

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Quebec reports 698 new COVID-19 cases, seven more deaths – The Kingston Whig-Standard

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That’s the highest single-day count since May 21.

Quebec has recorded 698 new cases of COVID-19 — the highest single-day count since May 21 — bringing the province’s total to 71,005 as of Saturday.

Seven new deaths have been reported, all of which occurred between Sept. 19 and 24. The province’s death toll now stands at 5,821.

The number of hospitalizations increased by 18, for a total of 217. Of those, 33 were in intensive care.

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Quebec reports 698 new COVID-19 cases, seven more deaths – The Sudbury Star

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That’s the highest single-day count since May 21.

Quebec has recorded 698 new cases of COVID-19 — the highest single-day count since May 21 — bringing the province’s total to 71,005 as of Saturday.

Seven new deaths have been reported, all of which occurred between Sept. 19 and 24. The province’s death toll now stands at 5,821.

The number of hospitalizations increased by 18, for a total of 217. Of those, 33 were in intensive care.

Related

All our coronavirus-related news can always be found at montrealgazette.com/tag/coronavirus.

Sign up for our email newsletter dedicated to local COVID-19 coverage at montrealgazette.com/coronavirusnews.

Help support our local journalism by subscribing to the Montreal Gazette here.

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