SUDBURY -- The Porcupine Health Unit reported another 51 COVID-19 cases on Thursday, mostly in remote areas of its coverage area.

A total of 45 of the cases are in the James Bay and Hudson Bay region, five are in Timmins and one is in the area of Cochrane, Matheson, Iroquois Falls and Smooth Rock Falls.

The source of infection for 11 cases is contacts of a case, one case is related to an outbreak and 39 are under investigation.

As a COVID-19 hotspot, the health unit has begun offering residents 16 years and older their second dose of vaccine.

Anyone in the age group who received their first dose of Moderna or Pfizer at least 28 days ago can now make an appointment at a Pfizer clinic to receive Pfizer for their second dose.

With the highly contagious Delta COVID-19 variant present in the region, the health unit said the second vaccine dose offers added protection from the disease.

"Residents who received Moderna for their first dose and wish to receive Moderna for their second dose are encouraged to remain patient as the (province) has suggested additional allocations of Moderna may be received mid-June," the health unit said.

"Additionally, individuals who received Dose 1 of AstraZeneca will continue to follow the product monograph and receive dose two at a 12-week interval. They can choose either AstraZeneca or an mRNA vaccine (Moderna or Pfizer)."

The only exception to getting a second dose before the 12 weeks is for individuals who are undergoing active treatment (i.e. chemotherapy or dialysis), and require a 4-12 week interval, at the discretion of their provider.

"With the AstraZeneca vaccine, a 12-week interval is recommended for optimal immunity," the release said.

Although walk-ins are accepted for those looking for their first vaccine dose, appointments are required for second-dose clinics.

"Walk-ins for second doses will not be accepted for second doses," the health unit said. "Individuals who are eligible can book an appointment online at phu.fyi/covid-vaccine or call the health unit at 1-800-461-1818."

So far, 69.7 per cent of residents 18 and older in the health unit's coverage area are vaccinated with at least one dose.

"We have vaccinated 80.3 per cent of people in Smooth Rock Falls, 69.7 per cent adults in Hearst, 63.2 per cent adults in Hornepayne, 61.3 per cent adults in Iroquois Falls, 60.9 per cent of adults in Timmins, 54 per cent adults Kapuskasing, 49.1 per cent adults in Matheson, and 49 per cent adults in Cochrane," the release said.

"Until more people are vaccinated, we need everyone to continue with public health measures regardless of whether you have received both doses."

The COVID-19 information line is open today from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Call 705-360-4819 or the toll-free number, 1-800-461-1818.