NANAIMO, B.C. -- An infectious disease doctor at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital (NRGH) fears another pandemic lockdown could be coming as COVID-19 cases continue to rise on Vancouver Island.

“This may be the tip of the iceberg,” says Dr. Dave Forrest. “We have had a bit of a bubble here as they have had in Atlantic Canada and now that bubble has been pierced.”

Over the past week, Forrest says dozens people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the Central Island region.

Two of those people have been hospitalized with the virus at NRGH and one of them is in intensive care.

Forrest is urging people to be more responsible.

“This is the real time to double down and pay real attention to the public health measures that (provincial health officer) Dr. (Bonnie) Henry has been emphasizing,” he says.

If people don’t start taking Henry’s advice seriously, he fears we could be headed for another lockdown.

“I think there’s a general fear now as there is across the country that that’s where we are headed,” says Forrest. “Potentially, the need to go into lockdown again as we were in the spring and that’s something we desperately need to avoid.”

The majority of cases they’re seeing are from younger people who are at lower risk of having severe cases of the disease says Forrest.

However, his concern is that they pose a risk of transmitting the virus to people who are vulnerable and are at higher risk.

Forrest says that scenario would have a huge impact on hospitalization needs as well as critical care resources.

“We need to protect not only one another from illness, but we need to protect ourselves and our society from the economic, social and psychological consequences of having to go into lockdown again,” adds Forrest.