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Coronavirus: 144 new COVID-19 cases, 2 additional deaths confirmed in Simcoe Muskoka

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The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has confirmed 144 new coronavirus cases and two additional COVID-19 deaths in the region since Friday, bringing the local total up to 6,242, including 186 deaths.

On Monday, public health also confirmed 29 new cases of a COVID-19 “variant of concern,” although testing is still underway to determine the exact variant strain.

Read more: Ontario family physicians seeking more details from government on COVID-19 vaccine rollout

In the region, a total of 187 people have screened positive for a “variant of concern,” while a total of 171 cases are confirmed to be the COVID-19 B.1.1.7 variant, which was first discovered in the U.K. and is believed to be up to 70 per cent more contagious than earlier novel coronavirus strains.

On Monday, 77 of the new cases are in Barrie, while 23 are in Bradford, 11 are in Innisfil, nine are in New Tecumseth and eight are in Penetanguishene.

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The rest of the new cases are in Bracebridge, Collingwood, Essa, Gravenhurst, Huntsville, Orillia, Tay Township, Tiny Township and Wasaga Beach.

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Fifty of the new cases are a result of close contact with another positive COVID-19 case, while 19 are community-acquired and 16 are outbreak-related.

The rest of the new cases are all still under investigation.

Read more: Ontario reports more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases, 11 more deaths

On Sunday, there were 1,227 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine administered in the region, bringing the total number of doses administered up to 34,146. This includes more than 15,000 people who have received both necessary doses of the vaccine.

Of the region’s total 6,242 COVID-19 cases, 87 per cent — or 5,457 — have recovered, while 25 people remain in hospital.

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There are currently 14 coronavirus outbreaks in the region — at seven workplaces, five institutional settings, one community setting and one educational setting.

On Monday, Ontario reported 1,058 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the provincial total up to 294,144, including 6,872 deaths.