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15 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in Simcoe Muskoka, local total reaches 956

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Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced on Tuesday that his government is investing an additional $1.3 billion towards COVID-19 testing and contact-tracing through its COVID-19 fall preparedness plan, to expand testing capacity and reduce backlogs – Oct 6, 2020

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit confirmed 15 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, bringing the local total number of cases in the region to 956, including 39 deaths.

Of all the new cases, nine are related to the local institutional outbreak at Simcoe Manor in Beeton, Ont., mostly involving people who are over 80 years old, with one involving someone who’s between the ages of 65 and 79.

Read more: Simcoe Muskoka’s top doc issues order to enforce COVID-19 self-isolation

The other new cases are in Barrie, Essa, Tay Township, Bradford, New Tecumseth and Innisfil.

As the Simcoe Muskoka region continues into its second wave of COVID-19, the health unit’s medical officer of health, Dr. Charles Gardner, notes there are differences in the second wave than what happened in the first wave.

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During the first wave of COVID-19, a higher proportion of cases were related to institutional coronavirus outbreaks, according to Gardner.

The region’s top doctor also notes the average age of new cases is younger during the second wave than it was during the first COVID-19 wave.

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“Our reproduction number is presently 1.2,” Gardner told reporters Tuesday. “Anything above one indicates … our pandemic is growing, which of course is consistent with increasing case counts.”

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There are currently six COVID-19 outbreaks happening in the region — at Simcoe Manor long-term care home in Beeton, IOOF Odd Fellow and Rebekah Home in Barrie, the Pines Long-Term Care Home in Bracebridge and at three undisclosed workplaces.

There have been 29 total coronavirus outbreaks in Simcoe County and Muskoka — at 16 long-term care facilities, five retirement homes, seven workplaces and one group home.

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Read more: Ontario reports 548 new coronavirus cases, 7 more deaths

Of all the region’s 956 cases, 87 per cent — or 835 — have recovered, while none are in hospital. There are 79 active COVID-19 cases currently.

On Tuesday, Gardner issued an order to enforce COVID-19 self-isolation among those who have been diagnosed with the virus, close contacts of positive cases, people who have COVID-19 symptoms and are awaiting test results, and people who have “reasonable grounds” to believe they have one or more coronavirus symptoms.

On Tuesday, Ontario reported 548 new coronavirus cases, bringing the provincial total to 55,362, including 2,987 deaths.