WINNIPEG -- Health officials in Ontario are warning of an increased COVID-19 risk in Kenora, Ont.

The Northwestern Health Unit (NWHU) issued a news release on Wednesday, notifying the public that in the past 17 days the Kenora region has reported 10 new cases of the disease, with three people currently in hospital.

The health unit adds that Kenora’s test positivity is now six times higher than it was in the summer, and is now similar to some areas in southern Ontario.

Some of the cases in the Kenora region are connected to travel, but some of the infected individuals had not travelled or had contact with known cases.

Dr. Kit Young Hoon, medical officer of health with the NWHU, said the rise in case numbers is concerning and that it should serve as the region’s wake up call.

“We’ve seen the devastation that COVID-19 has brought to other areas in Canada, and we need our residents to do everything they can to prevent the spread,” she said in the news release.

“Now is the time to act,” she said.

Young Hoon is reminding people to avoid unnecessary travel, physically distance from those who aren’t members of their households, to not gather with other families indoors, stay home if they’re sick and take a self-assessment to see if they should be tested for COVID-19.

The public can contact the NWHU’s COVID-19 hotline at 1-866-468-2240.