12 new cases of COVID-19, more cases linked to gatherings

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Twelve new cases of COVID-19 were reported in the Tri-County area Wednesday as infections remain somewhat steady in the area. 

Leeds, Grenville and Lanark currently has 45 active cases of the virus with one patient in hospital. 

Dr. Paula Stewart, Chief Medical Officer for Leeds, Grenville and Lanark, said pre-holiday and Christmas gatherings are mostly to blame for a recent small spike in cases in the area. 

"Two or three days later we started getting cases, a little bit of a lull, and then their household members started getting infected," she said in an interview on 104.9 MOVE FM. 

"People had family gatherings and some of them weren't that big, like maybe seven or eight people around the table, but all it needs is one person...it spreads very, very quickly." 

She urged residents to continue to follow public health advice and said it was possible the province could end a lockdown in the area earlier than the current Jan. 23 date if cases remain low in the area.

Ontario reported more than 3,000 new cases for a third consecutive day on Wednesday with 3,266, as hospitalizations continue to surge in the province. 1,463 people remain in hospital including 361 people in intensive care and 132 people on ventilators. 37 new deaths were also reported from the virus. 

The province says 220 of its 626 long-term care homes are experiencing an outbreak.

Ontario says it has administered 10,350 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine since in the previous 24-hour period and 60,380 vaccines have been given in total.