WINNIPEG -- Health officials in Ontario’s Northwestern Health Unit (NWHU) are advising residents to avoid any non-essential travel, as Manitoba and southern Ontario experience a rise in COVID-19 cases.

Dr. Kit Young-Hoon, medical officer of health at the NWHU, said that any residents who decide to travel outside of northern Ontario should complete a risk assessment before leaving the region.

“Determine whether the purpose of your trip is worth the risk of potentially contracting COVID-19 and bringing it back to our area,” Young-Hoon said in a news release issued on Oct. 1.

“Northern Ontario is not seeing the spike in cases that other areas like Manitoba and southern Ontario are seeing, and we must all do our part to keep it that way.”

According to the NWHU, travelling for sports teams falls under non-essential travel.

“Travelling for sports is not considered essential and I would recommend that sports teams do not leave northern Ontario to compete in other areas of the province or country,” Young-Hoon said.

Young-Hoon added that if people do travel out of northern Ontario, they should self-isolate for 14 days when they get back if they’ve been in close contact with a person with COVID-19 or have been exposed to an outbreak.

She also recommended that people download the COVID Alert App on their phones so they can be notified if they’ve been near someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

This statement from the NWHU comes as Manitoba’s active COVID-19 cases reach 621.