To pick up this vacation or stay home. That’s Omicron’s question

It’s starting to look a lot like … last year.

Holiday parties, gift exchanges, and winter fun with loved ones will be canceled or limited as COVID-19 sweeps Canada for the second holiday season in a row, the highly communicable Omicron variant drives with greater caution.

Still, some are moving forward with plans to celebrate, weighing the risk of contracting the disease or relying on vaccines to provide safety.

“Literally last Christmas, we kept all the blinds closed because we didn’t want anyone to see that we were having dinner because we weren’t allowed to,” Patricia MacDowell said by phone from her home in Montreal as she tucked in a turkey in preparation for Christmas Eve dinner.

MacDowell is not vaccinated against COVID-19. He said he is taking over his mother, his nephew and his partner, who are all vaccinated.

With the Omicron variant generating large numbers of cases across the country, MacDowell said she is not concerned because she is in good health.

It’s just a matter of common sense, he said: People should stay home if they’re sick and not give in to fear.

“At least now we can leave the curtains open. While we eat, we won’t feel like criminals.”

Toronto-based Dr. Naheed Dosani said it’s “part of your duty” as a frontline worker to give up another year of in-person celebrations with family and friends to protect the health of the community.

“As someone who has provided care to people who have dealt with COVID-19, have been very ill with COVID-19, and died of COVID-19, this was a decision that came very natural to me,” Dosani said.

To get together this Christmas season or stay at home. That is the big question everyone is asking as #Omicron sweeps the country. #Health

More than 30,000 Canadians have died from COVID-19, more than two-thirds of whom were residents of Quebec and Ontario. About two million people have contracted the virus since the pandemic began in early 2020.

“We’ve come so far and sacrificed so much that, at this point, the decision to suspend Christmas reunion plans is the right thing to do,” Dosani said, warning that the Omicron variant could overwhelm healthcare systems. they already have limited resources.

The doctor posted on social media that he was canceling his vacation plans and the response was overwhelmingly positive. But some voiced opposition to missing another year of traditions, citing vaccines or negative tests as precautions.

Dosani said the next few weeks are essential to overcome the current wave of infections. If people follow public health advice, Canadians will be able to “weather the storm.”

Top doctors across the country have issued warnings to ditch big gatherings for little bubbles during the holidays. Public health restrictions vary by province or territory.

“With Christmas Eve (today) and Kwanzaa beginning on Sunday, I want to reiterate my encouragement to all Albertans to cut their in-person social contacts by at least half during the holidays,” said the Chief Medical Officer of Health for Alberta. Alberta, Dr. Deena. Hinshaw, Thursday.

“Our family canceled our meeting in person even though it would have followed the current rules. I think the situation is that dire.”

Canada’s two largest provinces reported a record COVID-19 case count on Thursday. Quebec had 9,397 new cases and Ontario 5,790.

Quebec allows groups of 10 to meet for Christmas, but when Boxing Day rolls around, the size of the gatherings will shrink to six people or two family bubbles.

Ontario indoor gatherings are limited to 10 people. And in Alberta, 10 adults can meet, with no limit on the number of children.

The federal government advised against international travel earlier this month.

Toronto publicist Tracy Lamourie said she had planned a girls’ trip with her mother to the Mediterranean island of Malta for January. They are doubly vaccinated and she is not concerned about the virus, but said that with the uncertainty of flights and changing restrictions around the world they will likely delay the holidays.

“However, we have not canceled it yet and we are still hopeful for good news,” he said in an email.

“It is the possibility of flights being canceled and air travel suspended, leaving us stranded far from home that is scarier.

“It looks like we are back in March 2020 … and it’s hard to deal with that.”

This Canadian Press report was first published on December 24, 2021.

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