SUDBURY -- With an increase of more than 69 per cent in the total number of COVID-19 infections since Christmas Eve, northeastern Ontario has reached a grim milestone in the pandemic.

On Tuesday, 18 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed in northeastern Ontario, bringing the total number of positive cases to 1,005 since the pandemic began on March 11, 2020. Twelve cases were recorded as resolved as well, bringing the total to 878, leaving the number of active cases in the northeast at 127 as of Tuesday night.

These numbers include cases from the five public health agencies in the northeastern part of the province: Algoma Public Health, North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit, Porcupine Health Unit, Public Health Sudbury & Districts and Timiskaming Health Unit.

Since Jan. 11, there have been six new COVID-related deaths in the northeast, bringing the total number of fatalities due to the disease to 18. Four of the recent fatalities are connected to an outbreak at the Amberwood Suites retirement home outbreak in Sudbury. This also includes the first COVID-related deaths in both the Timiskaming and Algoma districts.

Also concerning is the rise in the number of hospitalizations of COVID-positive patients. As of Tuesday afternoon, there were at least 14 COVID-related hospitalizations, including 13 at Health Sciences North in Sudbury. No patients are currently in the hospital's intensive care unit.

Ontario's chief medical officer of health, Dr. David Williams, said Monday at a news conference the current provincial stay-at-home orders, which went into effect on Jan. 14,  should be in place until the number of daily new COVID-19 cases drops to around or below 1,000. The total number of new cases reported in Ontario on Tuesday was 1,913, the lowest level that has been seen in weeks, but the province said a technical issue at Toronto Public Health likely resulted in an underreporting issue. On Wednesday morning, the province confirmed 2,655 new cases of the novel coronavirus and reported that 89 more people have died due to the disease in the last 24 hours.

Vaccinations have taken place at Wikwemikong Nursing Home and Moose Cree First Nation, with the vaccine set to begin in Moosonee this week. Ontario is prioritizing long-term care home residents and staff along with Indigenous adults and is expecting to begin mass delivery to other high-risk groups in April as part of Phase 2 of the vaccination rollout.

CTV News Northern Ontario will continue to monitor and provide daily updates on the COVID-19 situation in the northeast as it has done since the beginning of the pandemic. Find all of the latest information about cases in your district here.