Another Huntsville resident has tested positive for COVID-19.

According to the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, the case involves a man who’s over the age of 80 and contracted the virus through close contact.

It’s the fifth case in Huntsville and the ninth in Muskoka since August 31.

Medical Officer for the SMDHU Dr. Charles Gardner says while it isn’t quite the second wave yet – COVID cases are on the rise in the region.

“I think it’s important for people to note transmission in their community. I think it’s very important for people in Muskoka to know that although your rates were lower than in Simcoe, considerably lower over time – more recently, you’re experiencing an increase in rate.”

This new case comes after reports last Friday of an employee at the Gravenhurst McDonald’s testing positive as well as reports of three other cases at Huntsville’s Pita Pit.

Overall, there have been 770 confirmed cases of COVID-19 within Simcoe-Muskoka, with 674 cases resolved while 37 people have passed away.

42 of those cases were within Muskoka with 34 recovered and one death.

Gardner says this recent increase in rates echoes the pattern that’s happening all across the country.

“Rates are going up in Simcoe, the Greater Toronto Area and much of Ontario. The risk is going up, the potential for risk of transmission through contact in the community is going up and therefore I’ve made my recommendation of reducing your exposure.”

The Health Unit has also learned of the region’s first confirmed case of COVID-19 related to a school.

The infected individual is a staff member at Twin Lakes Secondary School in Orillia.

“We are in contact with the individual and from the information gathered so far all indications are that the virus was contracted in the community, and not in school,” Gardner said. “The staff person was wearing full personal protection including a face mask and face shield and maintained physical distancing in the school setting.”

The infected individual, who is asymptomatic, is self-isolating at home. 

“We are working closely with all our schools and school boards to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 as much as possible,” Gardner added. “And I urge families to do their part too.”

For more information on COVID-19, visit the health unit’s Return to School section of on its COVID-19 website.