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Children, adults 30 and younger driving COVID-19 surge in parts of northern Ontario

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Officials in a northern Ontario health unit say children, adults under 30 and people who are not vaccinated are driving a surge in COVID-19 cases in the region.

Dr. Lianne Catton says the case rate in the Porcupine Health Unit is 290 per 100,000 – nearly five times higher than the rate the province had set as a benchmark for reopening.

The health unit, which includes the city of Timmins, did not move to the first stage of the province’s reopening plan last week.

Read more: Northeastern Ontario health unit won’t reopen Friday amid COVID-19 surge

Recent data shows the majority of the active cases are located in Timmins and in First Nations communities in the James Bay and Hudson Bay regions.

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Catton said last week that the more infectious Delta variant, which first appeared in India, was detected through community transmission.

Catton is urging residents to restrict their interactions and continue to follow public health measures.

Read more: Ontario reports 296 new COVID-19 cases, lowest daily count in 9 months

She says there has been some progress in recent days, but it’s early to say when the region will reopen.

“We need to see a more sustained pattern that is really solid before making any considerations,” she told a news conference.

The province reported 296 new cases of COVID-19 and 13 deaths from the virus on Tuesday.

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