SUDBURY -- The Porcupine Health Unit has confirmed two people have died after testing positive for COVID-19.

Health officials say the first case was a woman in her 60s who was admitted to Timmins and District Hospital March 23, 2020.

“This tragic loss highlights the seriousness of what is happening in our communities. This is a stressful time for all. We need to continue to work together to protect our families, neighbours, coworkers, and communities to limit the spread of COVID-19", said Dr. Lianne Catton, Medical Officer of Health for the Porcupine Health Unit.

A second individual in the Porcupine Health unit district has also died due to the virus.

Officials say the woman in her 50s, tested positive on April 2 and was admitted to Lady Minto Hospital in Cochrane.

"We are deeply saddened with the passing of our patient. The front line staff and all of us at Lady Minto Hospital wish to extend our sincere condolences to the family," said Paul Chatelain, CEO of MICs Group of Health Services.

Five new cases of COVID-19 were reported in the PHU district Friday, bringing the total to 28.

"We encourage everyone to stay home as much as possible, avoid non-essential trips and maintain two metres between yourself and others when you do need to leave your home," said Dr. Catton.

"With cases signalling local transmission, we all play a role in reducing tragic outcomes from COVID-19."

A death was also reported in Sudbury on Thursday, bringing the total in Northern Ontario to three.

Out of respect for the families, the health unit says it will not be releasing any other information regarding the deaths.