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Infectious diseases doctor urges Albertans be cautious when gathering for Thanksgiving

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Infectious diseases doctor urges Albertans to be cautious when gathering for Thanksgiving
WATCH ABOVE: As many Albertans prepare for a Thanksgiving feast filled with food, friends and family, doctors are urging caution for large gathering as the risks of contracting COVID-19 are still present. Chris Chacon reports – Oct 9, 2022

As many Albertans prepare for a Thanksgiving feast filled with food, friends and family, doctors are urging caution for large gathering as the risks of contracting COVID-19 are still present.

“Thanksgiving is sort of like the start of when we might start seeing increasing risk for a while again,” University of Alberta infectious diseases specialist Dr. Lynora Saxinger said.

For many Albertans thanksgiving gatherings have been scaled down these past few years but now with pandemic restrictions gone many families are once again getting together in large numbers.

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Dr. Saxinger is urging people to be careful.

“I think it’s flown below the a radar a bit but we really have seen smoldering COVID continuously for the entire summer and it is starting to go up again now,” Saxinger said.

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Saxinger said if you are feeling sick and have symptoms stay home.

“There’s considerable, very high infectivity of COVID and [elderly] people are more likely the ones to become ill, so you know the grand parents in the room are the ones that you would worry about the most,” Saxinger said.

Albertans hoping to get an idea of the most recent COVID-19 numbers ahead of Thanksgiving weren’t able to from Alberta government’s website — which updates the numbers every Wednesday — due to technical issues.

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“People deserve to have that information, yes I agree, we are working on it as quickly as we can,” Health Minister Jason Copping said Thursday.

Saxginer said that while the data is helpful with planning, ultimately it’s up to each individual to stay healthy and keep themselves safe.

“If you don’t want to fuss with testing, going by symptoms and actually going by a risk reduction in a gathering is a reasonable way and is probably the safest way to go about it honestly,” Saxinger said.

She also encourages people to spend part of their gatherings outside, keep up-to-date with vaccines and wear a mask if you feel the need.

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“We are entering a (higher) risk period because the two-dose people — even if they were infected back in the spring, as many were — they are starting to have waning immunity now and we’re going into the fall,” Saxinger said.

 

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