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‘We’re in this for the long haul’: 24 new coronavirus cases reported in Simcoe Muskoka

Coronavirus outbreak: Ontario health official says still ‘ways to go’ before entering stage 1 of reopening
Ontario's chief medical officer of health Dr. David Williams said the province still had a "ways to go" before it could enter stage one of the plan to reopen Ontario and it was still in the "pandemic phase." He said testing numbers would need to go down "substantially" and do so progressively over a two-week period before they could enter into the first phase.

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit reported 24 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Monday, bringing the local total number of cases to 259, including 15 deaths.

Three of the new cases are associated with long-term care facilities in the region, where there’s been four reported outbreaks, including at Bradford Valley Care Community, the Woods Park Care Centre, IOOF Odd Fellow and Rebekah Home, and Owen Hill Care Community.

READ MORE: 424 new coronavirus cases in Ontario, total reaches 14,856 with 892 deaths

According to the health unit, there is also a COVID-19 outbreak at an unidentified group home in the area.

“At Bradford Valley, they now have a total of 40 laboratory-confirmed cases,” Dr. Charles Gardner, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit’s medical officer of health, said at a tele-press conference Monday.

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“We have a total of 34 residents as cases and 10 staff, six of whom live in Simcoe Muskoka…Five of our staff cases have recovered. Four of the cases are from out of jurisdiction, not in our area.”

At Bradford Valley, there have been seven deaths among residents related to COVID-19.

READ MORE: Toronto’s Porter Airlines extends flight suspension until June 29 due to COVID-19

“We’ve tested all of the residents there, and we had 236 tests come back negative,” Gardner said. “Among the staff, we’ve tested 153 that were all negative.”

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In Barrie, Ont., IOOF Odd Fellow and Rebekah Home has a staff member who’s tested positive for the coronavirus, according to Gardner.

Meanwhile, two employees have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Woods Park Care Centre, while one staffer and another resident tested positive for the coronavirus at Owen Hill Care Community. Both of these long-term care centres are in Barrie.

On Monday afternoon, Ontario Premier Doug Ford unveiled the province’s plan to reopen the economy following a shutdown due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, although no firms dates were provided.

READ MORE: Coronavirus — Ontario releases gradual reopening plan, though no dates provided

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“We’re in this for the long haul with this virus,” Gardner said. “We expect it to come and go in waves and that it will persist until we get an effective vaccine, which could be another year-and-a-half out or so from now.”

Of Simcoe Muskoka’s total confirmed coronavirus cases, 36 are outbreak-related, while 137 people have recovered and eight patients are hospitalized.

Eighty-eight of the region’s cases are community-acquired, while 63 are a result of close contact with a confirmed case and 53 are travel-related.

The source of infection for the rest of the cases has been labelled as undetermined or under investigation.

On Monday, Ontario reported 424 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the province’s total to 14,856, including 892 deaths.

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