SYDNEY, N.S. -- Crossing the Canso Causeway is a comforting feeling for many who live in Cape Breton.

The island has seen low COVID-19 case numbers since the pandemic began, but in recent weeks, numbers have started to climb.

"When we see an uptick in cases it is concerning," says business owner Wayne Miller. "Our first concern is the community and that nobody is sick or in the hospital."

In March of last year, Miller operated three stores in the Sydney area. Now, because of the pandemic, he's had to lay-off staff and close two locations.

There are now 20 active cases of COVID-19 in the Cape Breton County Community Health Network and two in the Inverness, Victoria, Richmond Community Health Network.

Most of the cases are travel related. 

"Is it good to be paranoid and terrified of it?" asked Cape Breton physician Dr. Chris Milburn. "No, because there are other things people do in the run of the day that are more dangerous."

Milburn is a family and emergency room doctor in Sydney.

He says following health measures like wearing a mask and physical distancing are recommendations he's onboard with, but implementing more restrictions, he says can do more harm than good.

"The number one co-risk factor for COVID is basically obesity, diabetes, poor fitness," Milburn said. "The kind of people going out living life, going to the gym, playing hockey, swimming. To restrict people from all those activities, it's bad for their mental health, it's bad for their physical health and overall it may increase the risk of people dying from COVID."

Milburn says he will continue to follow the science behind the pandemic, as Cape Bretoners try and control COVID cases on the island.