TIMMINS -- The president and chief executive officer of the Timmins and District Hospital said the operating room has been closed to elective surgeries this week due to a healthcare worker contracting COVID-19.

But Kate Fyfe said she expects the situation to return to normal soon.

"We're limiting our activity for a 14-day period from the potential exposure," Fyfe said. "That would bring us back to normal operations by Dec. 3. We are evaluating that on a day-to-day basis so if we can increase surgical capacity sooner, we'll be looking to do that, but right now that's our targeted date to return to normal."

Fyfe said people should contact their physicians if they have any questions about treatment and surgery rescheduling.

Although there are few active COVID-19 cases in the Timmins area, Fyfe said she's confident the hospital can respond to any case or situation.

"We have strong resources in place and really strong partnerships and that … has enabled us to respond quickly in this instance and I think will serve us well in the future," she said.

In the meantime, Fyfe said anyone not feeling well who needs to seek care, it's safe to go to the hospital.

And Dr. Lianne Catton, the medical officer of health, said there's a trend throughout the province when it comes to confirmed cases: socializing.

"Private social gatherings remain a common cause of transmission or common source of transmission (in) so many of the outbreaks that we see in workplaces, in hospitals and in long term care homes and in schools," Catton said. "Often the common denominator can be a private social gathering."

Catton also said most cases trending are under the age of 40. She is asking people to continue wearing masks, sanitizing and distancing even during social visits.