TORONTO -- As the total number of COVID-19 patients in the province rises to 377, health officials in Ontario are reporting that a third person has died of COVID-19.

Shortly after Ontario health officials confirmed 59 additional cases of the novel coronavirus on Saturday, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) reported that a man, in his 70s, at the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre in Barrie has died. 

In the province, two COVID-19 patients were previously reported to have died – a 77-year-old Barrie, Ont. man and a 51-year-old Milton, Ont. man.

The man who was reported to have died on Saturday was being treated at the Barrie hospital for COVID-19. Health officials said he was a close contact of the first COVID-19 related death in Ontario, a 77-year-old man who also died at the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre.  

"This is sad news and we are offering our condolences to the family," Dr. Charles Gardner, SMDHU's medical officer of health said in a statement on Saturday.

"It speaks to the need to be more aware of the seriousness of the current situation than ever and that we, as a community, as organizations and as individuals, need to work together to protect one another."

There are now nine cases of COVID-19 in Simcoe Muskoka, including a woman in her 30s, who is in serious condition at Southlake Regional Health Centre. Health officials said that the woman's case appears to be a community acquired infection.  

Officials reported earlier Saturday that in Ontario one other person with COVID-19 has recovered, bringing the total number of recoveries to six in Ontario.

Officials said that more than 7,239 people are currently under investigation for the virus and more than 15,768 people in Ontario have tested negative thus far. 

Among the new cases announced on Saturday, two are in Toronto, four are in Peel Region, three are in Simcoe Muskoka, five are in York Region, one is in Hastings Prince Edward, one is in Ottawa and one is in Durham Region. The 42 other cases’ locations are listed as “pending.”

Nine of the new cases are travel-related, while five others are linked to a close contact of a previously reported patient of the virus and the other cases’ means of transmission is listed as “pending.”

One of the new cases remain in hospital, 13 are in self-isolation at their homes, and the rest are listed as “pending.”

Ontario's chief medical officer of health, Dr. David Williams, said he was not surprised to see the spike in numbers Saturday and added that the province continues to work to ramp up testing capacity.

He said that the next few weeks will be key to limiting the spread of COVID-19, stressing that everyone returning to Canada must self-isolate for 14 days to stop the virus.

Symptoms of the virus, which can include fever, cough and shortness of breath, are similar to other respiratory infections.

There are no specific treatments for the virus and there is no vaccine that protects against it.

--With files from The Canadian Press