As novel coronavirus cases continue to mount amid the second wave, Canadians have faced conflicting safety advice when it comes to holidays and trick-or-treating from public health officials.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his family will not be taking the risk, and is instead “reflecting” on doing an Easter-style candy hunt for his three children.
“Listening to public health officials means that my family will not be going trick-or-treating this year,” he said, adding that Ottawa is a red zone, where local public health officials have recommended foregoing door-to-door trick-or-treating.
“We have to reduce community transmission, and unfortunately, all of us are having to make sacrifices of different types, particularly kids in really difficult situations.”
As Toronto, Peel Region, York Region and Ottawa move into a modified Stage 2 in an attempt to control surging COVID-19 cases numbers, Ontario chief medical officer of health Dr. David Williams advised parents skip traditional Halloween this year.
Instead, he offered pandemic-friendly activities such as virtual Halloween parties, candy hunts, movie nights and pumpkin carving.
In Quebec — the province hit hardest by COVID-19 — Quebec Premier François Legault has given trick or treating the green light, as long as people giving out candy stay two metres apart from trick-or-treaters and gatherings are limited to those who living under the same roof.
“We know that it’s not easy and it’s frustrating,” Trudeau said, but “I think families will be creative in how they respond to giving their kids as fun a holiday as we can while always listening to public health officials and respecting local guidelines.”
As of Tuesday morning, chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said there were 201,437 confirmed infections in Canada, while the death toll stood at 9,778.
Over the past week, Tam said labs across Canada have tested an average of over 75,000 people per day, with 3.1 per cent of patients testing positive.
Out of the 3,289 cases reported to the federal government on Monday, Tam said 866 were the result of backlogs sustained over the weekend.
On average, she said more than 950 people were being treated in Canadian hospitals at any given time over the last week, with close to 200 in critical care. Tam said the country averaged 22 deaths per day.
“Whether your community is experiencing a resurgence and needs to reduce infection rates or your community has low disease activity already and wants to keep it low,” Tam said “everyone’s actions matter,” urging Canadians to commit to public health measures.
“We all have unique circumstances and responsibilities, but when it comes to being in close contact with others, we need to remember that every person that we encounter brings with them a whole network of contacts,” she said.
“As much as you can, I urge everyone to stick to your consistent, trusted close contacts and avoid encounters in crowded and close settings with limited ventilation.”