A photo, sent to the local medical officer of health, showing cars lined up for boating on McRae Lake in Muskoka prompted him to issue a harsh warning.
“If we are not careful and we end up with a big increase, we could end up in a total lockdown,” said Dr. Charles Gardner, medical officer of health for the Simcoe Muskoka District Heath Unit, on Monday.
The doctor issued the warning today in a daily media update. He said he received the photo and passed it on to the local police for clarification on the routine application.
“I think it was a dangerous situation … the potential for transmission was high, and it’s just the one I know of. There could be many more, “said Gardner.
He said an increase in the number of cases over the next two to three weeks could be the result of people who traveled this Easter weekend and participated in recreational activities in public spaces.
The increase could have an impact on other regions if those traveling were outside their health district.
“We all have to take this seriously,” said Gardner. “If you don’t get good compliance and we keep seeing an increase … if it’s obvious that we’re not lengthening the curve … (full lockout) may be necessary. It is, of course, the decision of the provincial government and the Prime Minister. “
Gardner said everyone should take precautions to prevent the spread. Because there is evidence of spread in the community, the potential to contract the virus in the community is still there, he said.
He said that people should practice physical distance while outside and wash their hands frequently. Today, he also urged people to choose only one person in their household to shop at a time, which means no group or couple shopping.
Gardner even encouraged stores to implement policies allowing only one person per basket.
He reminded the public to limit the number of races they do and to only go out when it is essential.
The health unit recorded 42 cases of community-acquired transmission in laboratory-confirmed cases. There are 45 patients confirmed positive for COVID-19 with a travel history.
“I think right now the actual number of cases acquired in the community would probably be much greater than the number of travel-related cases, as it is spread across the community,” said Gardner.
He is encouraged to see the province increase its testing capacity and hopes that this will translate into more testing in the region.
“It’s good to get results, because it’s good for our monitoring … it’s good to be able to track contacts and put them in isolation,” said Gardner. “We know that, with surveillance, we have the tip of the iceberg and there are many other cases that we do not know about … I hope they went into solitary confinement. “
He added that there are cases where the infected person is asymptomatic or has very mild symptoms. They would not know they have the virus and can spread it in the community without symptoms.
“This speaks to the importance of physical remoteness,” said Gardner. “It is not only important to take these steps to protect others, but for your own protection. “
Gardner said the region’s “current push” is continuing and reminded the public to be prepared to keep public health measures in place for weeks and months as the case increases.
There are 151 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Simcoe Muskoka area, including 62 recoveries, 47 self-isolated, 22 isolated in Bradford Valley, 11 people hospitalized and eight deaths related to COVID-19.
The distribution of cases for the cities of Simcoe County is as follows: Bradford WG (39), Barrie (31), New Tecumseth (17), Orillia (10), Collingwood (7), Innisfil (5), Springwater (5 ), Midland (4), Wasaga Beach (4), Oro-Medonte (4), Adjala-Tosorontio (2), Clearview (2), Essa (2), Ramara (2), Tiny (2), Penetanguishene (2) ).
There are also 12 confirmed cases in the Muskoka region, including Gravenhurst (6), Huntsville (4), Muskoka Lakes (2) and Lake of Bays (1).
Those who died from the virus include two men in Barrie in the 1970s, an Orillia couple in the 1970s and 1980s, a man from Wasaga Beach in the 1970s, an Oro-Medonte man in the 1970s, a man in the 1990s who was a resident of Bradford Valley long term care facility and a Muskoka Lakes man in his forties.