COVID-19 cases are rising in Ontario, however Windsor-Essex counts remain relatively low after a brutal summer of viral spread left the region with the highest rate of the disease in the province.
Now, as officials contend with a second wave of the virus, many are trying to think about Thanksgiving plans amid this pandemic.
"It's all too likely we won't be gathering for Thanksgiving," said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau while announcing that British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec are in the second wave of COVID-19 on Sept. 23. But he suggested Christmas might still be on the table if we rein in gatherings for now.
Dr. Wajid Ahmed, medical officer of health for Windsor-Essex, said this year is like no other and that people in our region must remain vigilant to reduce the spread of the virus.
"I can understand everything that people are experiencing right now, this is not the same time as before," he said on CBC Radio's Windsor Morning.
"But maybe with different traditions, just this time this year."
Officials and medical experts have been emphasizing that the large, extended family gatherings are not a good idea.
In fact, any indoor gathering is not recommended by health officials at this time.
"Anyone who lives in the same house as you, they are your household contacts, even if it's 10," said Ahmed, explaining that celebrating with those you live with is the safest option for Thanksgiving this year.
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Ahmed said that current recommendations for our region state that no one should host Thanksgiving dinners or parties with those outside their home and should not come into close contact with those they do not live with.
The health unit has recommended people:
- Wash hands frequently.
- Share a virtual meal.
- Spend time outdoors, celebrate with a walk or bike ride.
- Stay home if you are unwell.
Last month, a surge of new COVID-19 cases in Windsor-Essex were traced back to a couple of clusters, a situation the public health unit wants to avoid.
"I think that's what the concern is. We have our own examples of how community clusters initiated in our region and how it resulted in 40 new cases just from one cluster," said Ahmed.
"It just takes one person ... even if they are not aware or they are in an early symptomatic phase it could put someone at risk."
Ahmed said it's important to think of parents, grandparents or others who may be more at risk of complications due to COVID-19.