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UPDATE: Three more COVID-19 cases confirmed in Simcoe Muskoka, but testing is lagging behind

Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit confirms three more positive results today
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The local health unit has reported three more confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Simcoe Muskoka region today. The cases were tested at Collingwood General and Marine Hospital (first positive result), Orillia Soldiers' Memorial Hospital (second positive result) and Stevenson Memorial Hospital in Alliston (first positive result).

There were 50 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Ontario this morning, bringing the provincial total over 300 cases.

Again today, about half of the list includes information such as health unit, age and status of the patient, and the other half lists all information as “pending.”

Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has eight confirmed cases and another 2 “probable” cases in Simcoe County, down from 17 probable listed yesterday.

But probable does not mean those individuals have been tested.

“These probable cases have not and will not be tested,” a SMDHU communications official stated in an email.

In some cases, the health unit will look at close contacts of the probable cases made 24 hours before symptoms started. Individuals who are probable cases are sent home to self-isolate.

They are considered probable because they have symptoms, and have either travelled outside of the country or had close contact with someone outside the country who is also now showing symptoms.

Tests, when they are done, can take more than two days to come back with results.

Essentially, members of the general public will not get up-to-date and detailed information on how many positive cases have come from their community and where those individuals went before their symptoms began.

SMDHU is recommending people behave as though everyone has the virus and practice rigorous handwashing and disciplined self-isolation.

Ontario Health indicates there are currently 5,485 cases under investigation, and there have been 19,511 patients approved for COVID-19 testing to date in the province. There are now 308 confirmed cases for Ontario.

Canada’s public health website states there are 846 cases of COVID-19 in the country as of last night, but that doesn’t include Ontario’s extra 50 reported this morning. BC has the highest number of confirmed cases with 271 last night, not including what numbers are reported this morning.

Alberta has confirmed 146 cases, and had its first COVID-19-related death yesterday.

In Alberta, schools have been closed for the rest of the year. High school classes have moved online for the remainder of the school year.

But according to a CBC question and answer with Dr. Michael Gardam, we’re not going to know how many people in the province or the country actually have or have had COVID-19.

Gardam is the infections disease specialist and chief of staff at Humber River Hospital. He is a veteran of the SARS epidemic and the H1N1 pandemic in 2009.

Gardam said the amount of testing being done will shift to focus on people who are being hospitalized.

Chief Public Health Officer of Canada Dr. Theresa Tam said the daily confirmed cases count reflects testing done days ago, and those people would have spent several days with the virus before developing symptoms.

Tam, during a Thursday news conference, said the concept is a bit like “the light from a star,” because what you’re seeing today is something that happened a while ago.

Tam urged Canadians to do their part in not only flattening the epidemic curve, but “planking” it through diligent social distancing and self-isolation.

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Erika Engel

About the Author: Erika Engel

Erika regularly covers all things news in Collingwood as a reporter and editor. She has 15 years of experience as a local journalist
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