TORONTO -- Canadians are being advised by health officials to hold virtual Thanksgiving celebrations this year as COVID-19 cases continue to surge in several parts of the country.

In a press briefing in Ottawa on Tuesday, Health Minister Patty Hajdu said she understands that Canadians want to spend the national holiday with family but reminded them to consider the risks of getting together in-person.

"As everyone knows, it's been a challenging week, and virtual dinners -- although less appealing -- rather than an in-person gathering can make a difference in reducing the spread of COVID," Hajdu said.

Hajdu added that saying "no" to spending time with friends and family is "act of love" amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"I will say it to Canadians: I will join you in this. It is a difficult time, I know, to be apart from family, but I think it's an important step that we limit our contacts," she said.

Canada's top public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam made a similar suggestion on Sunday, urging Canadians to plan ahead to make sure everyone stays safe during this year's holiday.

Tam said Canadians should consider opting for virtual Thanksgiving dinners instead of in-person gatherings. If people must gather in-person, she suggested that indoor celebrations be kept small while people celebrating outdoors should follow physical distancing guidelines and avoid sharing food and other objects.

"We've got some serious planning to do. Not the carefree planning we had last Thanksgiving but rather some ingenious Canadian COVID-19 'holiday-hacks' that will ensure there are no viruses invited or passed around at our gatherings," Tam said in a statement.

The advice from Canada's health officials come as COVID-19 infections continue to increase in several parts of the country, most notably in central Canada.

Quebec reported more than 1,300 new diagnoses beating the province's single-day record on Tuesday, while Ontario has recorded more than 500 cases every day for the past nine days. Manitoba, Alberta and Prince Edward Island have also reported a resurgence in virus activity.

With files from The Canadian Press