BARRIE, ONT. -- The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit reports 71 new COVID-19 cases and one new death Tuesday.

According to the health unit, a woman in her 80s is the latest person to die from the virus. The health unit says her death is associated with the Roberta Place outbreak, which was declared over on Feb. 18.

The region has lost 193 residents to the virus since the pandemic began, with most deaths happening during the second wave.

Three people have died from the virus this month. In February, 32 people passed after becoming infected and in January, 88 Simcoe Muskoka residents lost their lives with COVID-19.

Variants of Concern

The health unit logged 20 new UK B.1.1.7 variant cases in the last 24 hours, plus one case that screened positive for a variant of concern.

The case counts come as Ontario's science advisors warn the province is in the third wave of COVID-19, with more contagious virus variants accounting for nearly half of new cases.

There have been a total of 850 variant cases in Simcoe Muskoka; 252 have been identified as the UK B.1.1.7 variant.

Seven cases tested positive for the P.1 variant, which originated in Brazil, and one case tested positive for the B.1.351 variant, which originated in South Africa. The additional 590 cases screened positive for a variant of concern but require further testing to confirm.

The region's medical officer of health, Dr. Charles Gardner, said variants of concern dominate case numbers.

He noted that "76 per cent of COVID cases have been variants of concern" in recent weeks.

School Cases

Dr. Gardner said there had been 97 school cases since students returned for in-person learning on Feb. 8, plus five school outbreaks.

There are currently three active outbreaks at Our Lady of Grace Elementary School in Angus, Andrew Hunter Elementary School in Barrie, and Holy Trinity Catholic High School in Bradford. The outbreak at Maple Grove Public School in Barrie was declared over on Monday.


Health-care workers have administered more than 57,000 doses of the vaccine to priority groups across Simcoe Muskoka to date.

Dr. Gardner said there has been "no waste of vaccine."

Roughly 500 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have been given to adults ages 60 to 64 through their family physicians.

The region currently has more than a dozen immunization clinics, including mobile and drive-thru clinics. The health unit said there would be pop-up vaccination clinics "through the coming weeks and months."