Holidays will look different this year: Hinshaw

·2 min read

Alberta’s top doctor is telling residents to prepare for a “much different holiday season” this year due to COVID-19.

On Tuesday afternoon, Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said while it is still unknown what restrictions will be in place over Christmas, Albertans should still be preparing gatherings with as few people as possible.

“It's been a long, hard year, and I know how important these holidays are,” Hinshaw said.

The doctor said Albertans should be forgoing office parties, open houses and large gatherings this year, no matter what the restrictions look like over the Christmas holidays.

Holidays with many people gathering together have accelerated the spread of COVID-19. Hinshaw said the province is still feeling the impacts of Thanksgiving and the cases that were diagnosed as a result of many people gathering indoors in groups.

“It only takes one person to start an outbreak,” Hinshaw said.

“I am encouraging Albertans to begin preparing for a much different holiday season and begin thinking of creative ways to celebrate safely.”

She added people can get together virtually or safely outdoors while social distancing.

Hinshaw said the lowest risk for spread is to celebrate with your own household and as few other people as possible.

Hinshaw's recommendations come as Alberta outpaces every other province for COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people.

On Tuesday, the province identified 1,307 new cases of COVID-19 after conducting 15,800 tests. The provincial positivity rate sits at 8.4 per cent.

There are currently 16,628 active cases with 479 people in the hospital and 97 of those in intensive care.

There were 10 more deaths reported in the past 24 hours.

“I know this is a difficult time to grieve,” Hinshaw said.

Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, St. Albert Gazette