BARRIE -- Simcoe-Muskoka’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Charles Gardner, says the number of COVID-19 cases in the region is rising quickly.

On Tuesday, 15 new positive cases of the virus were confirmed, bringing the total number of active cases in the region to 79.

“Slightly higher than the largest number of cases at the peak of the pandemic in the first wave,” Dr. Gardner said on Tuesday.

There are also six outbreaks at long-term care facilities in the region, including Simcoe Manor in Beeton, where three people have died since Friday.

Today Dr. Gardner took action to slow the spread by issuing a class order, which is a legal order, to enforce self-isolations requirements.

For those looking to get tested for the virus, there are also some changes. Appointments are now required at all assessment centres. The Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre drive-through has 300 daily appointments, and the Community Health Centre in Barrie has 250.

In Orillia, the assessment centre has moved from Soldiers Memorial Hospital to Rotary Place and is taking 300 tests a day. “Right now, we are asking people to make an appointment,” said the hospital Integrated Care Director Ryan Miller.

Miller said the hope is to have people complete their tests in about 30 minutes.

Since the pandemic began, there have been 956 confirmed cases of COVID -19 and 39 deaths in the region.