SUDBURY -- Two people have died from causes related to COVID-19, the Porcupine Health Unit announced Monday.

"Out of respect for the families, no further information will be shared," the health unit said in a news release. "We extend our deepest condolences to their families and friends during this difficult time."

The Porcupine Health Unit also reported five new COVID-19 cases among residents in the health unit area Monday, including two cases in Timmins and three in the James Bay and Hudson Bay region.

Helping drive cases in the area – which is still under lockdown – is the COVID-19 variant dubbed Delta, which is extremely contagious and can lead to more severe illness.

"The PHU was notified by the Public Health Ontario Laboratory that 16 more confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Timmins and one case in the area of Cochrane, Matheson, Iroquois Falls, Smooth Rock Falls were positive," for the Delta variant, the release said.

"There are now 29 cases with the delta variant confirmed in the PHU region."

With the variant circulating in the area, the health unit said it "is more important than ever that everyone follow the public health measures diligently and limit contacts with others who we do not live with."