BARRIE, ONT. -- The recent stay-at-home orders are showing signs of curbing COVID-19 infections in Simcoe Muskoka as the health unit reports a decline in weekly cases.

Dr. Colin Lee, the region's associate medical officer of health, said the latest shutdown restrictions are slowing transmission.

"We may, for the first time, see less cases. We're tracking to have less cases than the last two weeks, but it is still very high."

The health unit reports cases dipped about 15 per cent this week over last.

Health officials logged 430 cases this week, significantly down from 712 last week and well below the 665 confirmed the week of April 4.

The incidence rates in Barrie and Innisfil are around 200 cases per 100,000 population. Bradford West Gwillimbury remains a hot spot with nearly 400 infections per capita this month.

According to the health unit, 16 people who became infected with the disease lost their lives in the first 22 days of April.

Meanwhile, some business owners continue to refuse to follow provincial orders.

Lee said defying the orders could put others in the community at risk of exposure. "Honestly, that's just being irresponsible. It only takes actions like that to add just enough fuel to the fire - the COVID fire - to prevent us from getting out of a lockdown."

Lee said the case counts are a sign infection rates could be declining and encouraged residents to do their part and hunker down for another four weeks to keep cases on a downward trend.