Niagara's top doc asking residents to celebrate Christmas with household members only

holiday part

A spike in the number of COVID cases in Niagara Thursday with 30 reported.

The last time we saw a number that high was on November 21st when 36 new cases were identified.

According to Niagara's Acting Medical Officer of Health Dr. Mustafa Hirji the vast majority of the new cases had contact with a confirmed case of the virus, such as household members.

We have 210 active cases across the region, and 11 people are being treated in hospital locally for the virus.

Niagara remains in the 'Orange-Restrict' level, which is more relaxed than neighbouring Hamilton which is in the 'Red-Control' zone which severely limits the amount of people allowed inside restaurants and gyms.

Dr. Hirji believes Niagara is not at imminent risk of moving into the red zone, but he is very concerned about what is happening in Hamilton, and Waterloo regions, which experienced sharp increases in a short amount of time.

He is asking residents to do what's simple but not easy.

"What we need to do is really break off our social contacts, and have them in virtual ways for the next while. Limit social interactions with people to just in your household. When we interact with friends, co-workers and extended family that creates opportunity for infection to travel farther, and that's what is leading to what we are seeing now in some parts of Ontario. I know that is hard. I know we have been starved with restrictions all year long, but I think that's what we need to do."

Hirji believes Niagara should only celebrate Christmas with members of their household.

He says it's hard to control people in their own homes, but he's hoping residents will limit celebrations to household members so cases in the region don't spike in the new year.

85 people have died in Niagara with the virus. 

To listen to Hirji's full interview with CKTB's Tom McConnell click here.