The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) logged 87 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, including a dozen children.
So far this week has a total of 398 confirmed cases, a new weekly record for the region.
Despite being in a lockdown, the health unit predicts cases will continue to increase to 600 per week by the last week of January. In the fall, daily cases averaged from less than one to more than 16 per day. Cases began to surge to nearly 50 a day by late-December.
There are 1,251 active infections across Simcoe County and Muskoka, including 24 patients in local hospitals.
The health unit's medical officer of health, Dr. Charles Gardner, said on Tuesday during a Facebook live briefing that there were 10 additional deaths over the holidays. "All of these individuals lived in Simcoe County, none were in Muskoka," he noted. The region's death toll is at 70.
To date, more than 3,700 doses of the Pfizer-BioTech COVID-19 vaccine had been administered in Simcoe Muskoka to mainly health-care workers in hospitals and seniors' homes.
"It's certainly important that we be able to get to those facilities to be able to vaccinate the individuals that are the most high risk in the community," the region's top doc said Tuesday.
The health unit lists 14 institutions with a virus outbreak, including Georgian Bay General Hospital, a Wasaga Beach childcare centre and the most recent, Pines Long Term Care Residence in Bracebridge, where a single staff member tested positive.
The province reported grim numbers Wednesday, with 3,266 new cases and 37 deaths.
In total, 1,463 people are hospitalized in Ontario due to COVID-19, including 361 in intensive care, and 132 people are on ventilators.
The province says 220 of its 626 long-term care homes are experiencing an outbreak.
Ontario says it has administered 10,350 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine since its last daily update, with 60,380 vaccines given in total.
Meanwhile, Ontario's largest teachers' union is calling on local public health units to reconsider the opening of elementary schools on Monday.
The Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario says health units should use their authority to intervene, especially where transmission rates are high.
Premier Doug Ford says he will consult with the province's medical experts about whether elementary schools should reopen as planned after a week of online learning.
The province announced last month it would extend the school winter break as Ontario entered a provincewide lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19.