There are 43 novel coronavirus cases that have been attributed to Thanksgiving gatherings in Simcoe County and Muskoka, the region’s top doctor has confirmed.
“The week before Thanksgiving, we had up to 1,006 cases, and after Thanksgiving, we had an additional 281 cases,” Dr. Charles Gardner, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit’s medical officer of health, told reporters Tuesday.
“We’ve had a total of 21 gatherings of that nature, and that has led to 43 cases.”
Since Sunday, the health unit has confirmed 95 new COVID-19 cases. Last week, there were 111 new cases reported, which is the highest number the region has seen in a single week since the start of the pandemic.
According to Gardner, about 15 per cent of the health unit’s cases since Thanksgiving are related to gatherings for that holiday.
“There’s a full range of ages affected by this,” Gardner said. “So while it’s primarily young and middle-aged adults who are affected, we also have those who are children and those who are seniors affected.”
Gardner said it’s important to note the cases that have been attributed to Thanksgiving gatherings because there are other holidays that are coming up soon.
“We’re going to have to be careful again when it comes to avoiding transmission through such gatherings,” Gardner said. ”
“I want people to stick to their household. I know that’s very hard. I know that’s completely contrary to what would feel natural to us all, including myself, but the alternative is this kind of transmission.”
On Monday, Ontario health minister Christine Elliott said a rise in COVID-19 infections reported over the past weekend is a result of Thanksgiving gatherings. On Sunday, Ontario reported more than 1,000 new cases of the novel coronavirus, making it the highest number of cases the province has ever reported in a single day.
“We are also starting to see some of the numbers go down in some of the modified areas,” Elliott said Monday. “Because of the impacts of Thanksgiving, we’re not seeing that happen quite as quickly as we’d like to, but the numbers in some areas are starting to come down.”