11 guests COVID-19 positive after visiting Muskoka resort

Deerhurst Resort Photo courtesy of Deerhurst Resort

Eleven people have tested positive for COVID-19 after visiting Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville, Ont. over the August long weekend. An investigation by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is currently ongoing.

During a media briefing on August 11, Charles Gardner, the medical officer of health for Simcoe Muskoka, said that a group of 30 people—consisting of multiple families—from outside the Simcoe-Muskoka area were staying at Deerhurst. When the group returned home, a number of them started exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms. After being tested, 11 were confirmed as positive.

“We were notified of this by the health units involved, and are in the middle of conducting an investigation about contacts at that site in order to determine individuals who would need to go into self-isolation and be tested, and followed up for further investigation,” Gardner said.

It has also been confirmed that during their weekend in Huntsville, one of the people who tested positive visited local restaurant 3 Guys and a Stove. The restaurant has closed to conduct a thorough cleaning and allow staff to get tested. According to their website, they are still offering takeout.

At this point, Gardner said the health unit has only identified one individual who came into contact with the group as being at high risk of contracting the virus, requiring them to isolate. “We did note that there is a high degree of compliance at those two premises with regards to infection control practices—the mask use and the distancing and the other controls that are necessary,” he said.

Deerhurst is continuing to follow strict COVID-19 precautions while operating at a reduced occupancy, and is working with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit to protect the health of their guests and staff.

“I think an important takeaway message from this would be that there’s the potential for transmission even in Simcoe, even in Muskoka, even when our rates are very low,” Gardner said. “The potential still exists.”

Businesses, in particular, need to be cautious, Gardner added, especially if they’re dealing with guests. To reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, he recommended a list of safety practices, including:

  • Physically distance from those outside of their social circle
  • Maintain a social circle of no more than 10 people
  • Wear a mask when you’re in indoor public places or in crowded outdoor public spaces where you can’t physically distance
  • Hand hygiene and hand washing
  • Self-monitor and self-isolation if you develop symptoms
  • Seek assessment and testing

“It’s important to note that to date, we haven’t identified any cases of transmission in Muskoka related to this situation,” Gardner said. “We continue to investigate and monitor, but to date there’s been no evidence of transmission.”

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