Cases continue to surge in the Simcoe Muskoka region, with a week-over-week increase of nearly 20 per cent.
The latest COVID update from the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, published March 28, includes two new deaths.
A man and a woman between 65 and 79 years old, both from Simcoe County died after contracting COVID-19. The woman died on March 13, the man died on March 17, and his case was linked to an outbreak.
The health unit has reported 53 deaths in February, and 20 so far in March.
There are 14 people from the region currently hospitalized because of COVID-19, including three patients in intensive care units.
Testing has captured 303 new COVID cases in the region since the last update on March 28. Because testing is not available to everyone, case counts are underestimated.
Between March 20 and 26, four people have been hospitalized for COVID-19, and four people have died after contracting COVID-19, and testing confirmed 708 new cases.
The case count is up from the week of March 13-19, when the health unit reported 595 new cases, eight new hospitalizations and six deaths.
Since the start of the pandemic, the local health unit has confirmed 38,013 cases of COVID-19 with 36,425 of those cases recovered and 438 cases ending in death.
Of the deaths reported by the health unit since March 2020, 384 were COVID-related, 41 deaths were not related to COVID-19 but the person tested positive, and for 13 of them, the cause of death is unknown or pending.
Based on data collected since July in Simcoe-Muskoka, the rate of hospitalization from COVID-19 is four times higher for unvaccinated people than for vaccinated. The rate of admission to an intensive care unit is eight times higher for unvaccinated people, and the rate of death is three times higher for an unvaccinated person versus someone with two or more doses of a vaccine.
To date, 82 per cent of the population aged five years old and up are fully vaccinated with two or more doses, and 19 per cent of the region's total population (including children) is unvaccinated.
There are 24 active outbreaks in Simcoe-Muskoka, up from 20 outbreaks on March 21. The current active outbreaks include 13 in institutional settings (hospitals, long-term care, retirement homes), six in congregate settings (group homes, shelters), and five at child-care centres.
The health unit is no longer reporting case counts associated with individual outbreaks. A list of outbreaks is available on the health unit website here.
According to monitoring of the region's hospitals by the health unit, about 56 per cent of the region's ICU beds are full and about 13 per cent of the ventilator beds are occupied. Acute care occupancy is highest with 91 per cent of the beds in the region currently full.
According to Collingwood General and Marine Hospital reporting as of March 28, there are five COVID-positive inpatients at the hospital. This can include people admitted because of COVID and those hospitalized for other reasons who also test positive for COVID.