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Health Unit data shows COVID hospitalizations, ICU admissions dipping in Simcoe-Muskoka

Average daily case counts in the region have doubled since the beginning of March
2020-07-28 SMDHU offices 3
The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit offices are located on Sperling Drive in north-end Barrie. Raymond Bowe/BarrieToday

The latest COVID update from the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, published April 4, includes two new hospitalizations and one death. 

A woman between 45 and 64 years old from Simcoe County died on March 30 after contracting COVID-19. 

There are 17 people from the region currently hospitalized because of COVID-19. As of Friday there were four patients in intensive care units.

Last week there were no new ICU admissions for COVID-related illness, and hospitalizations are trending downwards as well. However, prior waves have shown a lag between rising case counts followed by a rise in hospitalizations, then ICU admissions. 

Testing has captured 416 new COVID cases in the region since the last update on April 1. Because testing is not available to everyone, case counts are underestimated. 

Case counts are climbing in the region with a rolling seven-day average of about 126 new cases per day. At the height of the omicron wave, the health unit reported about 683 lab-confirmed cases per day and there were about 59 new cases per day at the beginning of March. 

The health unit reported 53 deaths in February, and 21 so far in March. 

Since the start of the pandemic, the local health unit has confirmed 39,098 cases of COVID-19 with 37,331 of those cases recovered and 439 cases ending in death. 

Of the deaths reported by the health unit since March 2020, 386 were COVID-related, 43 deaths were not related to COVID-19 but the person tested positive, and for 10 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. 

Since July, the average weekly rate of hospitalization for an infected unvaccinated person in the region was seven hospitalizations per 100,000 unvaccinated people. For fully vaccinated, the average weekly COVID-19 hospitalization rate was 1.7 people per 100,000 people.

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 33 active outbreaks in Simcoe-Muskoka, up from 27 outbreaks on March 28. The current active outbreaks include 16 in institutional settings (hospitals, long-term care, retirement homes), 10 in congregate settings (group homes, shelters), and seven 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 46 per cent of the region's ICU beds are full and about 23 per cent of the ventilator beds are occupied. Acute care occupancy is highest with 84 per cent of the beds in the region currently full. 

According to Collingwood General and Marine Hospital reporting as of April 4, there are four 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.

Here's a look at the Ontario COVID update for April 4.

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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 13 years of experience as a local journalist
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