WINDSOR, ONT. -- Chatham-Kent Public Health says a cluster of 12 new COVID-19 cases in the region are linked to a boating trip involving multiple households.

The determination was made after an investigation by CK Public Health.

This trip was outside of Chatham-Kent and was several days long.

CK Public Health officials say they are isolating these cases and tracing their contacts, of which there is a very large number.

“While we are in Stage 3, members of the community need to be reminded that we are still in a pandemic, and the potential for rapid spread of COVID-19 is very real,” says Dr. David Colby, medical officer of health.

“Social circles are a maximum of 10 people for good reason; with everyone else we must physically distance.”

While spending time outdoors, health officials are reminding residents to ensure that you physically distance (two metres) from others, stay home when you are unwell, not exceed the gathering limits (50 indoors and 100 outdoors) and use 70 per cent alcohol hand sanitizer frequently. Also be mindful and respect the space of other social circles.

Premier Doug Ford addressed the incident at an announcement Thursday saying it's important people stay "vigilant."

“It’s unfortunate," Ford said when asked about the situation. "We have to practice social distancing, as the minister of health said, this isn’t over.”

He said people need to ensure they continue following all health protocols.

"People have to respect — and they have by the way — the chief medical officers’ protocols and the guidelines they set out," Ford said. 

Chatham-Kent has had a total of 299 COVID-19 cases, including 220 people who have recovered.