KINGSTON -- Kingston's top doctor wants the region to stay under provincial lockdown measures, even as COVID-19 numbers drop dramatically.

As of Thursday, Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington’s Public Health has only 10 active cases of the virus, and have two people hospitalized. That’s down from the more than 50 cases at the start of the month, with some cases directly linked to holiday gatherings.

Still, medical officer of health Dr. Kieran Moore said there’s a serious risk associated with opening up before areas with large case counts, like Toronto, does.

"If the lockdown is lifted, we don’t want a lot of travel within the province, or between provinces, and that’s an unintended consequence if our region opens up sooner than the GTA," said Dr. Moore.

Before the lockdown came into effect on Dec. 26, the province was under a tiered COVID-19 restriction system, with each health region able to determine what was open and closed based on COVID case numbers.

Kingston’s cases throughout the pandemic have remained lower than other regions, but many of its cases have been directly linked to travel to and from harder hit areas.

Moore said if and when the province returns to a staged approach to COVID-19 restrictions, he’d like to see stronger regulations against travel.

"We don’t want the variant strains that are circulating in the southwest and GTA to be honest," he said. "We have an older population in the southeast and we need to continue to protect that population."

Moore said he felt for the businesses that have been affected by the lockdowns.

"It’s a delicate balance for sure," he said. "I do hope that all southern Ontario can get their numbers down if they can adhere to the best practices. I think we’re an example to the province that it can be done."