Strep A On the Rise – One Families Journey

In Editor Choice, Local

Are there more cases than normal of Strep A happening in the lakeshore area?

Let’s first see what Strep A is.

Strep A or iGAS is a bacterial infection that can lead to serious, life-threatening complications.

Strep A comes from the family of Streptococcaceae.

A story CBC did earlier this year said that Canada is experiencing a record number of cases of Strep A.

But the story said doctors aren’t sure what is causing the rise in cases.

“We don’t fully understand that, at this point,” said Dr. Jennifer Guthrie, an assistant professor of microbiology and immunology at Western University in London, Ont. “And it’s probably become more pressing to understand that recently with the rise.”

On Friday, March 8, 2024 when most kids were just starting their March break, eight-year-old Cali Jones was airlifted to Sick Kids hospital in Toronto.

Her father spoke to Today’s Northumberland two days later and said, “everything is minute to minute.”

His daughter was that sick, that fast.

Cali has been at Sick Kids since.

On Tuesday her father Trevor said that Cali has been sedated since.

“We had a set back – but we are back to moving forward.”

“Slow steps, but moving.”

Trevor and his wife Caitlin said they were notified on Tuesday that Cali has a hole in the two membranes in the right side of her lung.

A drain tube was put in. Cali was given more medication and it’s intended to slowly wake Cali up.

“It’s been one hell of a fight,” said Trevor.

Reaching out to the Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit they said they put out a notice, “only if there was a potential for transmission and/or a rise in infectious disease – measles for example.”

The health unit stated they had been dealing with Cali’s case and a letter had gone to the school board office to send to the parent community of their school over the March break.

Today’s Northumberland asked on March 11 if we could assist in sending out information to inform the public, but the health unit advised they couldn’t send information out before parents received information.

The HKPR District Health Unit also stated that, “Strep on its own is not reportable.”

(As of March 28, Today’s Northumberland still have not received any information from the Health Unit)

But for Toronto Public Health it does list Strep A as reportable.

There have also been other incidents of Strep A reported to Today’s Northumberland.

Public Health Ontario stated that there were a total of 1,008 confirmed cases of iGAS in Ontario between October 1, 2023 and February 29, 2024 confirming a overall incidence rate of 6.5 cases per 100,000 population.

As of February 29, 2024, 8.1% (10/124) of iGAS cases under 18 years of years of age have had a fatal outcome reported.

The number of deaths among those under 18 years of age is approximately 83.3% of the total number of deaths reported for all of the 2022-23 season (12 cases).

The best way to prevent Strep A is by good hand washing, especially after coughing and sneezing, before and after preparing foods and before eating.


The family of Cali has allowed Today’s Northumberland to share their ongoing journey.

Update:930pm march 19
Cali is doing ok.. mri didn’t happen today, they said now at 130pm tomorrow she will go in for it. Cali was in and out all day today and last night, waking up and freaking out.. she was spitting gunk up and the nurse didn’t pat attention… so what does cali do?? Throws the stuffys at the nurse to get her attention. (The real Cali) so cali was spoken to.. she knows she knocks on the side of her bed so that they pay attention to her. Think when I’m up there tomorrow, we will get her a button to push. Since it wasn’t a good night for her, they decided to give her some melatonin to let her sleep. So now mom can get some rest tonight.
Things are still moving forward.. and that’s all i ask for. After the tube is out, and Cali is able to talk, we have to sit with her and let her know that she missed her bday and we will have a party for her when she is better.
Love you Cali ❤️❤️
Update: 1130pm March 20
Well today was a good day, it just took some time. Her mri appointment kept being delayed. So that means the breathing tube removal was also delayed. But finally, they got her back from mri, then had to wait for the nurse team that deals with the breathing come in and remove it. Well at 810 pm tonight her breathing tube was removed. Her oxygen saturation level did stay high 90’s for few min, then slowly decreased. So tubes went in the nose. They will just help out a bit.. then oxygen level went back to 100.. now the one intervenous in her right wrist is going to be removed tonight(its been there since day 1), but they put a new one in the left arm. The one in her neck will also be removed tonight they say. The ones in her groin(ones used for dialysis) they are not taking out for the moment, only because her bloodwork is not 100 percent.. so they are going to leave it in for a few days. Her meds are going to drop .5 every day till she is off them. Things are moving forward and not as scary for the parents. As for Cali.. she is very scared. She is still not understanding why, what and how? She doesn’t realize that she has been out for so long and can’t figure out who all these people are. But she also wasn’t prepared for this, so I could only imagine what is going through her head. Poor kid.. she just wants to come home…
Let’s see what tomorrow brings.. they are talking about her lung drain tube be removed soon.. and also the ones from her heart.. so let’s keep this train moving
Update: 1030pm. March 21
Well where do we start.. drain tubes from her heart are gone, neck intervenous is gone. She is still having issues with breathing, they put longer nose prongs in.. no difference.. the put a cpap machine in her trying to control her breathing. She is having ultrasound on her heart just to check it. Her heart rate is high, and also her blood pressure. She moved to a different room. Which is good.. but a lot less space. She is constantly in and out. She needs a good long sleep… I think mom and I do also.
Update: 7am March 22
This train that wad moving forward is backing up a bit. They finally got her blood pressure normal. They did a echo. Giving her some heart meds to slow it down. If they can’t get it all under control they may have to put the breathing tube back in.. let’s hope not..
They say that she may have pneumonia. Waiting …
Update 8am March 22
So they say her kidneys are ok, but they are not getting enough fluid off of her. They are talking dialysis again. With the pneumonia infection they have her on medication, but they need to remove more fluids from her body. They are also talking about breathing tube to be put back in so they can try to get more stuff up from her lungs. She is coughing but not bringing up enough.
Keep fighting Cali❤️
Update: 10am March 22
Cali is being put to sleep again to have the dialysis hooked back up and the breathing tube reinsert. This is a bit of a back peddle but they need to get her oxygen and blood pressure, heart rate back under control.this is not the forward we were hoping for, but it is what needs to be done to keep moving forward
Update: 130 March 22.
We were called to let us know that Cali was done. Then we come see her, we call in . And they ask us to stay in the waiting area and someone will come see us. Few seconds later one of the Dr’s came and asked us to talk in private. ( gut drops) .. one of the main issues is that her right side lung is still not doing good. Even though she is tubleated.Cali is “asleep” still. They are going in with a scope again to see if they can suck out more crap out of her lungs. There is also a different ventolator they can use to expand her lungs to get this bacteria out. They need to give her more meds to fight this infection. The dialysis machine is also hooked up to take fluids away from her and help her kidneys. Her kidneys are working but very slow. Is been a scary situation for us now, since she has been awake since Sunday, and they can’t say when they are going to be able to wake her again. They said this is common for this to happen since she was so sick for so long. But its not the news we were looking to hear.
She is sedated. She has no pain. All we can do is sit and wait for her to beable to wake again. ❤️❤️love u Cali❤️❤️
Update 330pm March 22
So she is stable again. She is still “asleep”, and looks like will be for a few more days at the least. They have a different lung machine on her “Oscillator ventilator ” sounds like a old washing machine on spin cycle. They are waiting few more hours to see if this keeps working the way it is. If not they may have to go back to ecmo oxygen. (We are hoping not). Her Mri is clearish, they said they see a bit of haze, but not concerning. Waiting around sick kids for a while to see what happens. ❤️🙏pull through Cali 🙏❤️
Update 1120pm March 22
Cali has had the dialysis hooked up due to they don’t want any more fluid getting to her lungs. The eeg is hooked up to check for seizures. All her vitals are hitting mostly normal. The Oscillator is working well..
Now just have to get this bacteria outta her.. she has been a fighter through all this.. so keep fight Soup..(her nickname) ❤️ ya
Update: 1030 am March 23
Cali did well all night. Stats stayed where they are needed. This morning dialysis decided to clot, so they are priming it and putting it back on. They are going to do a echo image of the heart to check. And they believe they can start wheening her off the Oscillator breathing machine and give her to a regular one. She is still asleep.. and I’ll be staying that way for a bit. ❤️💪❤️
Update: 1030 pm. March 24
Everything is stable.. they have went up and down on the Oscillator machine. That’s about it. Let’s just keep putting the meds through ya and get rid of this nasty bacteria. Keep strong little one.. ❤️ya
Update; 650 pm March 25.
CaLi has been switched ventilators to the regular one. We are waiting to see how she reacts and if vitals stay normal.
Update: 6 am March 26
Xray of Calis chest was done again. She has a air leak between the two layers in her right lung. They are putting a drain tube through the right side of her to release the air.
All her vitals have been good. She is stable.
Update: 830 pm March 26
Drain tube is in and draining. The ventolator is working well, they cut her muscle relaxant at 4 pm today, she just started to be aware. She is still lightly sedated. They said the dialysis machine is fine being on, but she is peeing enough by herself, so it could come off at any time. Her breathing is a lot better.. they have dialed back the ventolater and wanting her to start breathing a bit on her own(hence removing the muscle relaxant.). This may be a long go.. but what is best for her.. we are waiting for the Dr’s to come back around and see if they are going to change anything for the night. Keep fighting cali❤️
Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

Has been a photojournalist for over 30-years and have been honoured to win numerous awards for photography and writing over the years. Best selling author for the book Highway of Heroes - True Patriot Love

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