Thanksgiving gatherings may have contributed to spike in COVID-19 cases: health unit

Seniors 80 years of age and older have been disproportionally impacted by the pandemic, having both the highest incidence and case fatality rates; however, younger adults between 18 and 34 years had the highest rate of infection since June.

Latest health unit COVID-19 update reports 1,099 confirmed cases, 42 deaths, and more cases so far in October than in all of September

The latest report on the number of COVID-19 cases in the region shows 1,287 new infections, 55 since the last report on Friday.
The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit updates current cases Monday through Friday. Of the total, 1,057 have recovered, and there have been 49 deaths.
For the week starting Oct. 18, there were 111 new cases reported by the health unit, the highest number of cases reported in a single week since the start of the pandemic.  There have been more cases reported  in October than any other month since the start of the pandemic.
According to the unit’s pandemic trajectory, The seven-day moving average of new COVID-19 cases in Simcoe Muskoka steadily increased from early August to early October, from less than one case per day to more than 16 cases per day. The moving average dropped temporarily in the second week of October, however it appears to be trending up again. This could be due, in part, to gatherings that occurred over the Thanksgiving weekend.
Other findings include:
• The effective reproductive number for a given period of time or Rt is the average number of secondary cases that a new case will infect. If Rt is greater than one it indicates that the spread of COVID-19 in Simcoe Muskoka is growing, and if Rt is less than one, the spread of COVID-19 is slowing and containment/mitigation efforts may be working to keep the outbreak under control.
• While the rate of new COVID-19 infections decreased for all age groups until June, from July to September younger adults between the ages of 18 and 34 years have had the highest rate of infection – more than triple any other age-group.
• The rate of new cases among males were more than five times higher in September when compared to the rates in July and August. The rate of new cases among females tripled in September when compared with July and August.
Highlights of the latest update are:
• The vast majority of COVID-19 cases in Simcoe Muskoka have recovered from the infection.
• Seniors 80 years of age and older have been disproportionally impacted by the pandemic, having both the highest incidence and case fatality rates; however, younger adults between 18 and 34 years had the highest rate of infection since June.
• The rate of COVID-19 infections in Simcoe Muskoka is highest among those that live in areas that are moderately or well resourced, as measured by the Ontario Marginalization Index. For more information on the impact of marginalization on COVID-19 infection in Simcoe Muskoka see the full reportand summary presentation.
• The rate of COVID-19 infections in Simcoe Muskoka is highest among those that live in areas with greater ethnic diversity when compared to areas with lower ethnic diversity as measured by the Ontario Marginalization Index. For more information on the impact of COVID-19 infections in culturally diverse areas of Simcoe Muskoka see the full report and summary presentation.
• There are outbreaks in long-term care facilities and retirement home in our area. See the list of current institutional outbreaks for more details. 
Other information:
Estimating Local COVID-19 Transmission
Tables of Case Counts by Age, Status & Transmission
Epidemic Curve by Date of Symptom Onset
Actions individuals can take everyday to protect themselves and others include:
• Stay home as much as possible (this applies to people who have not travelled outside of the country or who are not self-isolating with symptoms of COVID-19 and must stay at home.
• Practise physical distancing by keeping two metres between you and another person, unless they are members of your household.
Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 15 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, use the self-assessment tool to help determine how to seek further care.
If you need immediate medical attention you should call 911 and tell them your symptoms and if you have travelled.
The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit used a simulation model developed by the University of Toronto to help us understand the possible impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in our area. Please see the linked presentation for more details.
In summary, the results suggest:
• Intense physical distancing, or moderate physical distancing with increased case finding and isolation, is the best way to reduce the number of COVID-19 cases.
• Without physical distancing being applied for at least 12 of the next 24 months, it is projected that Ontario would not have enough hospital ICU beds.
• Applying physical distancing in a repeated way could prevent the health care system from being overwhelmed and allow mental health and economic breaks for everyone.
A repeated cycle of physical distancing would lift physical distancing rules to allow people to return to a more ‘normal’ life and then restore physical distancing rules as cases start to re-appear.

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