Two more confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been identified in the Simcoe-Muskoka region and health officials say it is likely just the start.
A woman in her 40’s from Bradford-West Gwillimbury is now recovering in self-isolation at home after checking in at Southlake Regional Hospital on Friday, March 13.
An Alberta man visiting the province came into Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) in Barrie on Wednesday, March 11 and is being treated at the facility. He is in serious but stable condition.
Dr. Charles Gardner, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit medical officer of health, said at a Sunday afternoon media conference that the case with the male individual is still being looked at to see just which staff at RVH came into contact with him.
“The RVH is with us in investigating potential contacts among staff related to this particular case,” said Gardner. “This individual did have close contact with another individual who recently passed away at RVH and so we are investigating that situation as well.”
The Alberta man stayed at the Hampton Inn in Barrie between March 5 to 11. Anyone who stayed at or worked there during that time is asked to self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days, starting from March 11.
The first case in the region was announced at a press conference this past Thursday after a Barrie man who had visited Germany and Spain, became ill and checked into RVH where he was tested on Monday, March 9.
The region’s three positive tests are likely just the beginning, predicted Gardner.
“We are in the early days of this pandemic and in particular in this part of the world, in Canada, in Ontario, in Barrie and Simcoe-Muskoka we’ve only just had our first cases this week,” said Gardner. “I fully expect there will be community transmission in the near future.
"For that reason, we are advising people to take the protective measures they have been hearing about," he warned.
Approximately six or seven sites are being looked at throughout Simcoe-Muskoka for alternative assessment centres. Barrie’s is expected to be opened on Monday, with the location being announced shortly. The centres will not be conducting actual tests for the disease, but will be for asking a series of questions where, if needed, the patient will then be redirected to the nearest hospital.
Tests being done will require people to get swabs of their throat and back of the nose. The protocol for anyone who tests positive is for them to remain in isolation until they've had two negative tests for the virus.
For more information about COVID-19 and precautions, visit the health unit's website.