The local health unit reports an alarming spike in COVID-19 cases on Tuesday with 17 new diagnoses across Simcoe County and Muskoka.

Eight of the new cases are Barrie residents, including two boys, two in New Tecumseth, including a minor, two in Bradford, and the remainder in Ramara, Innisfil, Wasaga Beach and Huntsville.

The spike in cases comes as most students head back to class.

The surge is worrisome, said the region's top doctor. "Definitely seeing an upward swing in our cases at this time, which is, I think, a cause for concern for us all," Dr. Charles Gardner said.

The new cases also include a new institutional outbreak at the Roberta Place on Essa Road in Barrie.

Today, Premier Doug Ford expressed frustration over reports of parties as the numbers climb.

"We have a camp up in Muskoka... there's over 170 people, and it was just, by fluke, the OPP came there because I guess someone must have called, being irresponsible, having international visitors and sure enough, there was a COVID case," Ford said.

Dr. Gardner said regarding the Muskoka situation; there were some individuals in quarantine after having travelled out of the country who came into contact with others. The Simcoe Muskoka health unit's top doctor said they are working to return those people to ensure no further transmission.

Meanwhile, as Ontario's cases climb to 375 over the past two days, Education Minister Stephen Lecce said the government would do "whatever it takes" to protect students. "We will not hesitate to act. We will put your kids first."

"The latest trends in numbers has raised some concerns," said Health Minister Christine Elliott.

Elliott said there were 185 new cases in the past 24 hours, with 190 recorded the day before.