Listowel Banner Local News News Wingham Advance Times

Klassen recommends staying close to home this Thanksgiving

HURON-PERTH – One new positive case due to out-of-county travel was announced during the Huron Perth Public Health media briefing on Oct. 8, bringing the total cases for the area to 136.

There are now five active cases in the area, with no outbreaks or hospitalizations.

“I think the lowest risk way to stay safe right now is to stay local,” said Dr. Miriam Klassen, Huron-Perth medical officer of health.

“I think there are many individual circumstances that cannot be easily caught in one recommendation so there are going to be people with personal and family issues where travelling out of county may be the best decision for other reasons such as mental health and social needs.”

If it is necessary to travel outside the region, she recommends being be extra careful in maintaining all the other Public Health recommendations but emphasized the safest thing people can do at this time is to stay local.

In response to the news of 797 new cases of COVID-19 in Ontario, the most on any single day since the outbreak began, Klassen expressed concern.

“I think the provincial numbers are going in the wrong direction and that includes the cases and hospitalizations and deaths seem to be trending upward too,” she said.

“There are more outbreaks in long-term care homes so this should be, I think, a concern to us all. We all want stage three to be successful.”

She encouraged everyone to continue to participate in breaking the chains of transmission by staying home when they are sick, sticking to their household, washing their hands, maintaining a two-metre distance, wearing a mask when they can’t maintain two-metres distance outdoors and being selective and minimizing the number of contacts they have.

Thanksgiving is almost here and Klassen acknowledged the importance of celebrating with family and friends.

“It also remains important we protect our families, friends and communities from the spread of COVID-19,” she said.

“As long as there is uncontrolled COVID-19 transmission in the rest of the province we are not safe in Huron-Perth. I’m asking everyone to be very mindful of their choices this weekend.”

Klassen made several recommendations to reduce the risk of transmission this Thanksgiving:

  • stay home or stay local;
  • if you are planning an indoor celebration, make sure it is with your household contacts only;
  • if you are planning to visit with family and friends keep it outdoors, stay within gathering limits and stay two metres apart from everyone not in your household;
  • wear face coverings but remember they are not an excuse to get close. Physical distancing and face coverings must work together to be effective;
  • consider connecting with family and friends virtually;
  • if your household includes any students or family members who are not usually part of your bubble, have them practice hand hygiene, wear a face covering indoors and keep at least two metres especially while eating or drinking;
  • ensure food is plated individually by someone who is symptom-free and knowledgeable in safe food handling;
  • do not share food, beverages, buffet or family-style meals;
  • before anybody comes in your home check to make sure they do not have any COVID-19 symptoms and they have not been identified as someone who is a close contact of someone who has COVID-19; and
  • do not participate in social gatherings, including religious services, if you are sick, have recently travelled outside Huron-Perth to an area with a high rate of transmission, are awaiting test results or are a close contact of someone with COVID-19.

Colin Burrowes is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter with the Listowel Banner. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.