Top doctor offers alternative ways to celebrate the holidays

·2 min read

While Christmas is still a month away, Chatham-Kent’s Medical Officer of Health is starting his wish list.

Dr. David Colby wishes for residents of Chatham-Kent to remain safe and healthy throughout the holidays. He is not ruling out gatherings altogether. In fact, he is considering people to consider alternative ways to celebrate the holidays.

Colby feels gatherings should not be cancelled altogether and encourages residents to celebrate with members in their social bubble only.

He said limiting the number of people in gatherings this holiday season is the only way to defeat COVID-19.

“This is not the year to congregate with people,” said Colby. “Until we get a vaccine that’s going to bring this pandemic to its knees, I’m really worried about the social aspects of the holiday season coming up. I think we really need to think about just interacting with our household and a small number of our most cherished people.”

Throughout the pandemic, Colby’s message has remained the same: the only way the province will go back to some sense of normalcy is if an effective vaccine is able to be administered widely to the population. He echoed the message once more.

“I don’t think we’re going to see any kind of normal Christmas in 2020,” said Colby. “But nothing else has been normal in 2020 either.”

Additionally, Colby encourages residents to utilize technology and call their loved ones via video calling.

While meeting with loved ones on Dec. 25 is amongst the more “normal Christmas” options, Colby also recommended that another approach could be to postpone any big Christmas celebrations until it’s safe to do so.

“This is something that is cherished by so many that it’s not something that we want to lose,” said Colby. “But we have to be safe, and we have to protect the vulnerable people in our society.”

Colby has been working to control the spread of the virus within the community for the past eight months. However, Chatham-Kent most recently has been hit with outbreaks at local restaurants and a school, leading to the transition to “Yellow Protect”.

This is one tier higher than the lowest Green-Prevent level the municipality was initially placed in when the framework was recently developed.

Chatham-Kent had no reported COVID-19 cases on Friday, according to the health unit, but there were still 32 active cases in the municipality, including some linked to restaurants and schools.

Chatham-Kent’s medical officer of health, Dr. David Colby, said, “We were moved into yellow because of our numbers of positive cases relative to our population – five recent outbreaks – and our percentage of positive tests.”

Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News