BARRIE -- It was a somber start to this week's update from the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, reporting four more COVID-19 related deaths over the past 24 hours.

"105 of the 131 are all related to outbreaks," says Dr. Charles Gardner, Medical Officer of Health with the health unit.

According to the health unit, there were 40 deaths last week alone; 33 as a result of the ongoing outbreak at Roberta Place Long Term Care home.

On Tuesday, the health unit reported 29 new cases of COVID-19 surpassing the 5,200 case mark, but over the past three weeks, the number of cases has slowly been going down from 448 the week of January 10 to 440 last week.

"Our reproductive number is 0.9, which is down from last week at one," says Gardner.

"So anything less than one means it's shrinking, starting to come under control, and the pandemic is going in the right direction."

Most cases were reported in Barrie with 11, Bradford with four, and Springwater with three. Several other communities reported two or less with the location of three cases still pending.