With millions of British Columbia residents gathering with family and friends for Thanksgiving this weekend, doctors are offering their advice on how to keep vacations safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The most important thing people can do to reduce their risk, according to Dr. Bonnie Henry, BC Provincial Health Officer, and Dr. Theresa Tam, Director of Federal Medical Health, is to get vaccinated and try to limit yourself to meeting with others. vaccinated people.
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“It’s a tough question sometimes, but ask your family, or if you have people outside of your family that you’re thinking of inviting, try asking them if they’ve been vaccinated or not and keep that in mind,” Tam said.
Henry said the advice was particularly important “if you have older relatives or anyone who is immunosuppressed.”
“That’s what you can do to protect yourself, then to protect those closest to you – we want to make sure these gatherings are happy events and do not cause virus and disease transmission in the coming weeks.”
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People should consider keeping their celebration only for their own immediate family if potential guests are not vaccinated, according to health officials.
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Dr. Brian Conway, medical director of the Vancouver Center for Infectious Diseases, said there are several other ways that people can further reduce the risk of piling up amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chief among them is canceling your vacation plans to get together if you feel ill in any way.
People should also consider keeping their meetings modest in size and taking advantage of the pleasant weather if available.
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“If you have a covered area and a heater available and you can do things outside, obviously it will be safer,” Conway said.
“If you’re going to do things indoors, I think the closest comparison that comes to mind is to think of this as a restaurant: What would a group of people, all vaccinated, be that you would feel comfortable with in terms of number of people and anything else, go to a restaurant with?
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“That should be the guide in your mind as to how many people you should have in your home to celebrate Thanksgiving indoors.”
Conway said physical distancing and the use of masks can also be used as “an additional insurance policy,” particularly in cases where people may be in higher risk categories.
If people dine indoors, Tam also suggested that people find ways to improve ventilation in their homes.
“Even when it’s colder, you can open the windows a little for short periods of time and the doors to improve ventilation,” he said.
“Previously, we have seen sudden increases in cases after these holiday events. This year, with the vaccine on board, I think we should have a stronger foundation, but we cannot be too careful with this formidable enemy. “
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Health orders limiting gatherings
Along with the recommendation, British Columbia residents in some parts of the province are also under public health orders that limit the number of people who can meet in their homes.
In the Fraser East healthcare delivery area, which includes Abbotsford, Agassiz, Chilliwack, Harrison Hot Springs, Hope and Mission, there are no limits to people who are fully vaccinated.
But if people are not fully vaccinated, indoor gatherings in private homes are limited to the home of one person plus five visitors or another home.
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Outdoor gatherings in private homes in these communities are limited to the home of one and up to 10 visitors, who must remain outside.
In the Interior and Northern Health regions, indoor personal meetings are limited to the home of one plus five visitors or another home.
Outdoor meetings in both health regions are limited to 50 people.
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