Members of Nadia Lloyd’s family are shown at an outdoor Thanksgiving gathering last weekend in Belleville, Ont., in this September 2020 handout photo. Lloyd started planning her family’s annual Thanksgiving get-together months ago when COVID case numbers were under control across the country. (Nadia Lloyd photo)

Canada’s top doctor gives tips for COVID-safe Thanksgiving amid high daily cases

Dr. Tam said indoor gatherings were recommended only for personal pandemic bubbles

The country’s chief medical officer released a series of tips about how to celebrate Thanksgiving amid the pandemic this year, one week before the fall holiday.

In a Sunday (Oct. 4) statement, Dr. Theresa Tam said this season’s first holiday wouldn’t be as care free as it has been in prior years. Last week saw an average of 1,634 cases reported daily across Canada, with province’s like B.C. hitting a near record high case count on Friday. However, most of the new cases have come from Ontario and Quebec, which officials said have entered their second waves of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“More recently, we are seeing an increase in severe outcomes of COVID-19, which we are keeping a really close eye on. Over the past week, there have been an average of over 500 COVID-19 cases in hospital on any given day and 10 deaths reported daily,” Tam said in a statement issued Saturday.

In light of the surge in cases, Tam said indoor gatherings were recommended only for personal pandemic bubbles, while any extended family gatherings should take place outdoors, and at a distance.

“An outdoor safe distancing meet-up with others who are not in your close contacts bubble might involve setting up in an open space where each contact bubble is no closer than the length of a picnic table apart,” she noted. “Remember, too close is too close, even if you are outdoors. Don’t share food or objects.”

Canada has seen a total of 164,471 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began, including 9,462 deaths, although some provinces do not report statistics on weekends. Approximately 71,000 people were tested daily over the past week, with 1.8 per cent positive.

READ MORE: Chance to prevent COVID resurgence ‘narrows with each passing day,’ Tam says


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