Coronavirus SociaL Media - red zone WEB
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Our Response

Since January 2020, we have been actively responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Direct local public health actions combined with our strong relationships and work with health care partners, municipalities, partner organizations, businesses, and our community members continue to show the collective efforts we have made to protect everyone in Simcoe Muskoka from COVID-19.

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in some changes to the way many businesses, organizations and agencies deliver their services or run their business. For public health, in particular this has contributed to the following actions over the course of the pandemic:

We have:

  • Redeployed over half of all staff members to COVID-19 work. 
  • Focused on critical services to meet urgent and time-sensitive needs. 
  • Adopted active screening, virtual programming, masking and physical distancing processes for all our staff. 
  • Provided technology enhancements that allow most of our staff to work from home to prevent any transmission of COVID-19 in the workplace.

These changes allow us to deliver essential services in new ways that reduce the risk of spreading the virus. They permit us to concentrate on the critical public health response to COVID-19 while keeping our community safe. Being flexible and able to adapt our services and work to fit the current situation is critical to our success in helping bring this pandemic to an end.

Staff redeployment

Since January 2020, our entire staff has worked in some capacity or another to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and/or continue to deliver essential public health services across Simcoe Muskoka. More than half our staff has been redeployed from their regular work to COVID-specific work, including public health nurses, registered practical nurses, public health inspectors, dietitians, nutritionists, dental hygienists, health promoters and administration staff. Redeployed staff are dedicated to COVID-related work such as contact tracing and case investigation, COVID-19 vaccine administration and immunization program, and customer service support on our COVID-19 response line.

SMDHU follows up with individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19. The information gathered through this process helps us to determine a person’s high risk contacts (someone who has been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19), where a person may have been exposed to the virus, how the virus is spreading in the community, who the virus is affecting, and how it can be contained.

Case and contact management can be complex and time-intensive. The number of contacts (which can include both locations and individuals) that each COVID-19 case has can vary depending on the individual’s living, work and social situations. Each interaction is assessed to determine the risk to others. As close contacts are identified they may be informed by public health or by the person who has tested positive. More information about being a close contact of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 can be found here.

If you haven’t already done so, download the COVID Alert app. The app helps to break the cycle of infection by letting people know of possible exposures before any symptoms appear. That way, we can take care of ourselves and protect others in our households and communities.

  • Received and responded to more than 37,923 calls through our COVID-19 call centre.
  • Investigated 93% of cases within one day of being reported. 
  • Partnered with Provincial and Federal contact tracers to identify, trace, and advise 6,218 people who had high-risk exposures (contacts) to confirmed cases of COVID-19. 
  • Conducted post-test follow-up calls. 
  • Processed and/or responded to over 1,216 media requests related to COVID-19. 
  • Launched social media awareness campaign to promote mental health, community supports, stop the spread public health measures during COVID-19. 
  • Posted 698 key messages to Facebook and Twitter. 
    o Our Facebook posts had a reach of 2,615,995 and generated 29,751link clicks and 11,293 comments 
    o Our tweets had 1,157,259 impressions and 9,070 link clicks. 
  • Developed and updated COVID-19 website portal for more than 1,379,837 page views. 
  • Posted local case data on our COVID-19 HealthSTATS and our HealthMAPS COVID-19 Case Explorer portals, generating a combined 3,471,790 page views. 
  • Engaged with community agencies and local partners including Indigenous organizations, First Nation communities, municipalities, acute care and partners supporting vulnerable populations.
  • Maintained critical health unit programs and services throughout COVID-19 response. 
  • Developed and distributed 66 Partner Updates to community stakeholders.

To allow us to deliver essential services in new ways that reduce the risk of virus spread, many of our programs and services have been adapted to the current situation. Programs and services are regularly reassessed and adjusted as needed. Examples include:

  • Virtual/phone consultations with clients in the Healthy Babies Healthy Children program. 
  • Virtual/phone consultations for sexual health care and advice and critical appointments when required. 
  • Physical distancing, masking and screening at all offices in order to continue with the safe delivery of the private well water sampling program. 
  • Provision of immunization of children two years and under without a health care provider, by appointment. 
  • Catch-up immunization appointments for Grade 7 immunizations that were scheduled for spring 2020. 
  • New process for tick identification using a third-party online app to reduce the number of visitors to local offices. 
  • Extended hours, including weekends and holidays, for Health Connection COVID-19 response line. 
  • Temporary hold on in-school dental and vision screenings.
  • Temporary hold on several community-based initiatives and programs.


Page last updated: December 31, 2020

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