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Niagara Health executive says rate of infection will put a strain on hospitals if the rate isn't slowed down

Pleads with residents to follow protocols over the holidays as infections rise dramatically
niagara health st catharines hospital
St Catharines hospital. Photo: Ludvig Drevfjall/Thorold News

A top executive at Niagara Health is pleading with people to follow COVID-19 protocols as hospitals are starting to see an increasing number of patients requiring care after contracting the virus, and that the strain on the hospital system will continue to increase if the rate of infection does not slow down.

"The only way we can hope to be successful against this highly contagious virus is for everyone to do their part. We know everyone wants to return to normal as quickly as possible. We’re not at that point yet. Everyone must adhere to the COVID-19 safety protocols. It is essential to keep yourselves and others healthy in our community," Dr. Johan Viljoe, Chief of Staff and Executive VP of Medical Affairs at Niagara Health writes in an open letter.

The hospital system is currently dealing with at least three outbreaks in Welland and at the Greater Niagara General site amidst the last week's sudden increase in daily confirmed cases.

Viljoen writes that Niagara Health's greatest fear is that older adults will be put at risk at celebrations or gatherings around the holidays, and that news of the vaccine against COVID-19 is positive news, but yet far away from being a factor to rely on.

"This season, please do not gather with anyone outside your household, no matter the size of the gathering," Viljoen writes.

Niagara currently has over 400 active cases.

Read the full letter here.