Officials in a northern Ontario health unit say children, adults under 30 and people who are not vaccinated are driving a surge in COVID-19 cases in the region.

Dr. Lianne Catton says the case rate in the Porcupine Health Unit is 290 per 100,000 - nearly five times higher than the rate the province had set as a benchmark for reopening.

The health unit, which includes the city of Timmins, did not move to the first stage of the province's reopening plan last week.

Recent data shows the majority of the active cases are located in Timmins and in First Nations communities in the James Bay and Hudson Bay regions.

Catton said last week that the more infectious Delta variant, which first appeared in India, was detected through community transmission.

Catton is urging residents to restrict their interactions and continue to follow public health measures.

She says there has been some progress in recent days, but it's early to say when the region will reopen.

“We need to see a more sustained pattern that is really solid before making any considerations,” she told a news conference.

The province reported 296 new cases of COVID-19 and 13 deaths from the virus on Tuesday.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said there were 62 new cases in Peel Region, 60 in Toronto and 45 in Waterloo Region.

The numbers were based on 17,162 tests.

The province said 433 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Tuesday morning, including 382 patients in intensive care and 244 on ventilators.

The province said 184,989 COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered over the last 24 hours for a total of more than 11.5 million doses.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 15, 2021.