With millions of British Columbians reunited with family and friends for Thanksgiving this weekend, doctors are offering their advice on how to protect the holidays amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The most important thing people can do to reduce risk, according to Dr.Bonnie Henry, BC’s Provincial Health Officer, and Federal Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr.Theresa Tam, is to do it themselves. vaccinate and try to limit yourself to getting together with other vaccinated people.
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“It is sometimes a difficult question, but ask your family, or if you plan to invite people outside your family, try to ask them if they have been vaccinated or not and take that into account,” he said. Tam said.
Henry said the advice was especially important “if you have older family members or anyone who is immunocompromised”.
“This is what you can do to protect yourself and then to protect those you are closest to – we want to make sure that these gatherings are happy events and do not cause virus and disease transmission in the weeks to come. to come.”
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People should consider reserving their celebration for their own immediate family if potential guests are not vaccinated, according to health workers.
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Dr Brian Conway, medical director of the Vancouver Infectious Diseases Center, said there are several other ways people can further reduce the risk of congregating amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The main one is to cancel your vacation plans to get together if you feel bad in any way.
People should also consider keeping their gatherings small and having a good time if available.
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âIf you have a covered area and a heater and you can do things outside it will obviously be safer,â Conway said.
âIf you’re going to do things indoors, I think the closest comparison that comes to mind is to think of it like a restaurant: what would a group of people be, all vaccinated, with whom would you feel comfortable in terms of the number of people and whatever else going to a restaurant with?
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“This should tell you how many people you should have in your home to celebrate Thanksgiving indoors.”
Conway said physical distancing and wearing a mask can also be used as “an additional insurance policy,” particularly in cases where people may fall into high-risk categories.
If people dine indoors, Tam also suggested people find ways to improve ventilation in their homes.
âEven when it’s cooler, you can open your windows a bit for short periods of time and the doors to improve ventilation,â she said.
âPreviously we have seen increases in cases after these holiday events. This year, with the vaccine on board, I think we should be on a more solid footing, but we cannot be too careful with this formidable enemy. “
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Health orders restricting gatherings
Along with the recommendation, British Columbians in parts of the province are also subject to public health orders limiting the number of people who can congregate in their homes.
In the Fraser East health service delivery area, which includes Abbotsford, Agassiz, Chilliwack, Harrison Hot Springs, Hope and Mission, there is no limit for people who are fully vaccinated.
But if people are not fully immunized, gatherings inside private homes are limited to one-person household plus five visitors or one other household.
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Outdoor gatherings in private homes in these communities are limited to his household and a maximum of 10 visitors, who must stay outside.
In the Interior and Northern Health Regions, personal indoor gatherings are limited to one household plus five visitors or one other household.
Outdoor gatherings in the two health regions are limited to 50 people.
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