SUDBURY -- Officials with a Sudbury retirement home battling a COVID-19 outbreak have confirmed a third death from the disease. 

The news was announced in a news release Sunday evening. 

This is the third death in three days at the retirement home after one resident died on Friday, followed by another on Saturday. 

"We are sorry to announce the loss of a third resident to COVID-19," the retirement home said. "Our deepest sympathies go out to the family. Our residents and staff are very saddened to lose another friend."

A COVID-19 outbreak was first declared on Jan. 5. Since then, 32 residents and three staff members have tested positive. 

This is the fifth death related to COVID-19 in the Sudbury area since the pandemic began, prior to the Amberwood outbreak, the last COVID-related death was on May 1.  

Since Christmas Eve, the district has confirmed 133 new COVID-19 cases, accounting for 34 per cent of the total cases. This despite lockdown orders that began on Boxing Day. The continued surge in new cases and deaths across the province prompted the Ontario government to declare a second state of emergency and issue strict stay-at-home orders that began on Jan. 14 and will last for 28 days.

Of big concern is our health system being overwhelmed due to an influx of COVID patients. Currently, there are 11 patients at Health Sciences North with the disease. Another 11 have been tested and are awaiting results, including one person currently in the intensive care unit.

The first COVID-19 vaccine was administered in Ontario on December 14. The government is prioritizing long-term care residents and staff, as well as front-line health care workers, in the areas hardest hit by the disease first. Some First Nation elders and nursing homes in northern Ontario have received vaccinations, but it has not yet been offered widely to those who live and work in long-term care in northern Ontario citing low supply, transportation and storage challenges.