SUDBURY -- Sad news out of the Cochrane District as it announced its 10th COVID-related death Thursday night, the first one since August.

"It is with great sadness that we have another tragic loss attributed to COVID-19 in the Porcupine Health Unit region," said Dr. Lianne Catton, the medical officer of health for the Porcupine Health Unit. "This death is related to an institutional outbreak. Out of respect for the family, no further information will be shared."

The death involves a resident of Extendicare Kapuskasing, where officials have been battling a COVID outbreak since Jan. 6 following the first laboratory-confirmed infection. It is the third COVID-19 outbreak at the facility since the pandemic began.

"We are saddened to confirm that one resident who has previously tested positive has passed away. We have been in touch with this resident’s family to offer our deepest condolences on behalf of all who knew and cared for them in our home," said Laura Gallant, a spokesperson for Extendicare. "Our hearts are with our community and all who have lost loved ones to this virus during this immensely challenging time. We remain focused firmly on the safety of our residents and team members and will continue our tireless work to protect them until this virus is no longer a threat to their health."

As of Tuesday, there were 18 active cases of the disease at the care home, 14 of which are residents and four are staff. As of Friday morning, Porcupine Health Unit is only reporting 14 active cases related to the institutional outbreak, indicating four have been resolved, including the death.

At 10 a.m. on Friday, there were 28 active cases of COVID-19 in the Cochrane District and Hornepayne. Since Christmas Eve, there have been 66 new infections confirmed, an increase of 34 per cent, and 47 cases have been recorded as resolved, including the newest COVID-related death. Public health officials said the recent surge is caused by gatherings over the holidays. 

Since Jan. 11, there have been eight COVID-related deaths in northeastern Ontario, including five linked to a outbreak at a Sudbury retirement home that has infected at least 38 people.