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Monday rise in COVID-19 cases linked to Niagara residents who traveled abroad

Tested positive after isolating when they returned home

The seven new cases of COVID-19 reported in Niagara on Monday were largely linked to a group that had traveled outside Canada.

After isolating upon their return to Canada, six individuals from a group that had gone on essential travel to an unspecified country tested positive.

Most of them had been asymptomatic.

The remaining case was labeled as community transmission, said acting medical officer of health, Dr. Mustafa Hirji.

“I think today’s numbers are not as alarming as it seems,” he told Thorold News on Monday.

Sunday’s five cases were contained within a couple of households, along with an additional case of community spread.

Hirji said while the sources of infection are largely known in the latest group of new cases, it could also mean that there are unknown infections that are not coming to the attention of regional health authorities.

As fall approaches, the health unit is looking over its communication efforts to be able to reach young people and groups more likely to get together for unauthorized parties where the infection can spread rapidly; a scenario seen in other southern Ontario regions and metropolitan areas like Ottawa and Toronto.

"We are trying to reference, in a concrete way, what is happening elsewhere to show what the risks are and to get the message across to groups who are engaging in unhelpful behavior," Hirji said.

The methods to pinpoint who they want to reach will resemble commercial market research, and this fall could see targeted advertisement drives with testimonies from those affected by COVID-19.