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UPDATED July 12, 2022: Simcoe Muskoka in seventh wave of COVID-19

Simcoe Muskoka has entered a seventh wave of COVID-19, being driven by the new Omicron subvariant BA.5, which has become the dominant strain in our community and the province. We are seeing a rise in the rate of transmission through increases in local case counts, active outbreaks, hospitalizations, and waste water signals in some communities.

The  BA.5 subvariant spreads even faster between people than the last strain of COVID-19, has similar severity, and can reinfect those who have previously had COVID-19.

The increase in community spread requires that you consider your personal level of risk and take precautions when out in public. We strongly recommend that you wear a mask in all indoor public places to protect against viral spread and severe illness. We also stress the importance of staying up to date with your COVID-19 vaccination, including booster doses and practicing all other personal protective health behaviours, such as limiting your number of close contacts, maintaining physical distance, socializing outdoors whenever possible, staying home when ill and get tested if you have access to either rapid antigen tests or are eligible for PCR testing, and practicing good hand hygiene. These steps are simple yet crucial ways to help reduce the spread of the disease.

If you have COVID-19, isolating will help stop the spread of the virus. Take the COVID-19 self-assessment.

You must isolate if you:

You may need to isolate if you:

You do not need to isolate, but must still monitor for symptoms and take all necessary precautions if you:

Additional resources:

 

There are two main publicly -funded tests available in Ontario to those who are eligible: rapid antigen tests and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing.

Antiviral treatments are now available for people with symptoms and a positive test result (PCR or rapid antigen test) who are at higher risk of severe COVID-19. These treatments must be taken immediately within the first five to seven days (depending on the treatment) of symptom onset.

Locations to get rapid antigen tests

Locations to get a publicly-funded PCR test

Locations of clinical assessment centres

Antiviral treatments


It is important to remember the more layers of protection you use the safer you are against COVID-19. Help stop the spread by taking steps that protect yourself and others. Click here to find out how.

It is strongly recommended that you wear a well-fitted three-layer mask or use a medical mask (or respirator) in all public indoor settings. Showing kindness to those that continue to mask is also strongly encouraged as a way to show respect for each other’s personal choices and private health decisions. To learn about face coverings or masks and how to properly wear, fit, remove and clean your mask to help stop the spread of COVID-19, visit Ontario.ca.

Wearing a mask is still required in the following situations:

Masking is still recommended in higher-risk congregate settings such as group homes and shelters. Businesses and organizations can create and enforce their own masking policies.

Long COVID or Post COVID-19 Syndrome describes a range of symptoms which can persist for weeks to months after severe, mildly symptomatic or asymptomatic COVID-19 infection. The symptoms associated with long COVID are varied and many, and affect people in different ways. They may remit and relapse. Most common symptoms include:

  • fatigue
  • memory problems
  • sleep disturbances 
  • shortness of breath
  • headaches
  • general pain and discomfort
  • difficulty thinking and concentrating

Prevention of Long COVID

The best way to prevent Long COVID is to prevent infection from COVID-19 through vaccination and other preventive measures like wearing a mask, physical distancing, and handwashing. 

Treatment of Long COVID

Any person who has Post COVID-19 symptoms should seek assessment with their health care provider.

Resources: 

The Simcoe Muskoka Safe Voluntary Isolation Site (SVIS) is a place for people who need to self-isolate due to COVID-19 but do not have access to an adequate shelter or cannot safely self-isolate in their own homes. The SVIS is designed to give people a secure, comfortable, and private space to rest and recover, without fear or anxiety of transmitting the virus to their family, roommates, or other people they live with. 

Self-isolation is a proven way to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 among household members and the community at-large. People in Simcoe Muskoka must self-isolate if they have any of the following:

  • Symptoms of COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status and/or if they get tested.
  • A positive COVID-19 test result.
  • Recent close contact with someone who has COVID-19 symptoms or a positive COVID-19 test result.
  • A household member who has had recent close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

 

Do you need help to self-isolate?

Any Simcoe Muskoka resident that is unable to safely self-isolate is eligible to access this service. There are no costs associated with staying at the SVIS and transportation can be arranged for those who need it, free of charge. Through case and contact investigations, public health professionals at the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit will assess individuals’ needs to help identify those who require safe accommodation for COVID-19 self-isolation. Please call our Health Connection line at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520 ext. 5829 or send an email to Health Connection using our online form for more information and how to access this service.

Please note that the health unit is required to provide your COVID-19 status, either positive or negative, to the SVIS so that they can take any necessary infection prevention and control measures. Your COVID-19 status will only be shared with necessary staff.

Page last updated: August 4, 2022

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