The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit reported seven new novel coronavirus cases on Thursday, bringing the local total number of cases to 511, including 36 deaths.
The new cases are in Barrie, Essa, New Tecumseth and Springwater, Ont., involving people ranging in age from under 10 to their 70s.
Three of the new cases are community-acquired, while two are a result of close contact with another positive COVID-19 case. The source of infection for two of the new cases is still under investigation.
Of the Simcoe Muskoka health unit’s total cases, 85 per cent, or 428, have recovered, while 107 have been related to local institutional outbreaks. Five people remain in hospital.
There have been 11 total COVID-19 outbreaks at facilities across the region in seven long-term care facilities, three retirement homes and one group home.
According to the health unit, 96 per cent of its total cases are in Simcoe County, while the rest are in Muskoka.
Seniors who are 80 years old and above in Simcoe Muskoka have the highest incidence and case-fatality rates.
On Friday, municipalities overseen by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit will be allowed to enter Phase 2 of the Ontario’s reopening plan.
Gatherings of 10 will be permitted and places of worship will be allowed to reopen at reduced capacity.
Most regions — including Simcoe County and Muskoka — will see hairdressers, barbershops, restaurant patios and other outdoor spaces reopen with restrictions.
On Thursday, the province of Ontario reported 203 new coronavirus cases, bringing the provincial total to 31,544, including 2,487 deaths.