BARRIE, ONT. -- The Simcoe Muskoka health unit is reporting its lowest weekend COVID-19 case count in weeks, with 146 cases confirmed since Friday, along with one new death.

Last week there were a total of 437 new cases, which marked a 21 per cent drop from the week of April 25, when 556 news cases were reported across Simcoe Muskoka. So far, 36 cases have been reported this week.

"So obviously, I'm very, very pleased the infection rates are going down all through the province, not just in Simcoe County," said Dr. Sohail Gandhi, a Stayner, Ont.-based physician and past president of the Ontario Medical Association.

The health unit recorded its latest COVID-19 related death on May 7. A male between the ages of 45 to 64 lost his life to the illness. It is the fifth death this month to COVID-19, after 25 lives were lost to COVID-19 in April, double the number in March.

Gandhi says there is relief coming to area hospitals as well. There were 12 people admitted to hospital due to COVID-19 last week, down from 25 admissions the previous week. As of Monday, there are 32 people in hospital.

"It shows two things. It shows that the vaccinations are taking effect as more and more people get vaccines. I think that's obviously very good news," said Gandhi. "And it also does show that the stay-at-home order, as much as we all hate it, is actually having the desired effect."

So far, there have been a total of 11,062 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across Simcoe Muskoka since the pandemic began, with 939 of those infections currently active.