WINDSOR, ONT. -- A spike in COVID-19 infections has health care leaders worried and they are confident it will get the attention of provincial decision-makers.

“We won’t be staying in orange, after what happened yesterday, that is certain,” Dr. David Colby, Medical Officer of Health for Chatham-Kent Public Health (CKPH), said Thursday

CKPH is reporting is reporting 13 new infections Thursday, bringing their total active cases up to 78.

Dr. Colby says its concerning because the cases are steadily rising, from 46 last week, and two weeks before that, the region only had 11 active cases.

“They’re all traceable to indoor gatherings that people are not supposed to be having right now,” he said.

Dr. Colby says there is no way they could police residents who are having parties in their own homes.

“These rules are there to protect everyone and I cannot believe that a year into this, more than a year into this, that people don’t understand that these are not just constraints to mess with people. They are there to protect people,” he said.

Mayor Darrin Canniff is also worried, citing the broader impact of rising cases on businesses that would have to close or restrict customers if Chatham-Kent goes into red.

“I would love to party like everybody else, you cannot do it right now. You have to wait until we get vaccinations into people’s arms.”

Dr. Colby also says they are having trouble with contact tracing, and people not being “forthcoming” about their exposures.

“It’s when we say ‘who were you with? Well, I don’t know. Were you at a party? Well, I might have been. Who else was there? I did not know their names. Well, where was the party? Uh, I don’t remember.’ That is the kinds of evasiveness that I’m referring to,” he said.

Don Shropshire, CAO for Chatham-Kent thinks people need to be reminded of the nine people who have died from COVID in their region, before making the decision to go to a party.

“If somebody went to a party and they had to actually explain why they thought they had the right to do that, to the people who lost a loved one, or had lost their business, I think it would be a very different consequence,” said Shropshire.

Dr. Colby says the decision to switch colour in the reopening framework is made “by cabinet” and he expects this spike in cases will be noticed.

Ontario typically announces on Friday’s if a region is moving into a different level of COVID control protocols.