There have been 168,960 cases of COVID-19 in Canada, including 9,504 deaths. Over the past week, labs across Canada have tested an average of over 71,000 people daily, with 2.5% testing positive. National daily case counts continue to increase, with an average of 1,951 new cases being reported daily during the most recent 7 days. At the same time, we are monitoring closely an upward trend in the number of individuals with COVID-19 requiring hospital care. Over the past week, there have been an average of 613 COVID-19 cases in hospital on any given day and 16 deaths reported daily.
Thanksgiving is a special time for many Canadians; a celebration centered on visiting and enjoying meals with families, friends and neighbors. University students travel home and faith groups gather in thanks. People often head indoors as temperatures drop and the weather becomes more unpredictable. We will be able to return to these cozy indoor gatherings one day, but while we live with COVID-19, we all need to think carefully about our Thanksgiving plans this year to protect ourselves, our loved ones and communities. This is very hard because friends and family give us comfort and it might feel safer to gather with them; but this is in fact a false sense of security and can increase the risk of COVID-19 for those you love the most.
There is a great illustration by New Zealand-based Siouxsie (“Suzy”) Wiles and Toby Morris that I tweeted out this morning and I am hoping you are able to view through media today. It shows us how quickly one case can become many in the absence of controls. It also shows us how the choices we make as individuals can have a big impact that will help to keep case numbers low.
There are in-person activities we all need to do and there are others we can live without. By limiting our number of close contacts we can all help to slow the spread of COVID-19 and help essential services, businesses and educational facilities remain open.
Wherever you live, this year’s cornucopia needs to include an abundance of personal protections and a set up for virtual or safe distancing connections. Gatherings indoors will be safest if they only include household members, especially where infection rates are highest. Gatherings outdoors that involve people from outside our households will be safest if well-spaced. Remember, too close is too close, even if you are outdoors. Don’t share food or objects, “Bring-Your-Own” is safer. Do share friendships, experiences and the great Canadian outdoors – together apart!