Tips from Dr. Theresa Tam on gathering indoors this fall

Sep 4 2020, 1:42 pm

With Labour Day weekend marking the beginning of a shift to cooler weather in Canada, the country’s top doctor offered advice Friday on how to navigate coronavirus risks as friends and family move get-togethers indoors.

Dr. Theresa Tam distilled her tips into four questions people should ask themselves to decide whether attending an indoor gathering is right for them.

Your own risk

Tam’s first set of questions she laid out at her Friday news conference centre around the individual wondering whether to attend.

  1. Are you at high risk of developing serious complications from COVID-19 if you become infected?
    1. Or, if you had to self-isolate, would that seriously disrupt your upcoming plans, priorities, and responsibilities?
  2. Are there people at high risk in your household or close contact bubble that you could unintentionally infect?

These questions are the first step to providing clarity on whether people should accept event invitations.

The location

The second set of questions looks at how safe the gathering place will be.

  1. Has the host made changes to prevent coronavirus spread? Such as spacing apart chairs or having guests wear masks?
  2. Are you able to adjust your plans at the event? Either by stepping away if it gets crowded, putting a mask on, or washing your hands?

Gathering outside is widely seen as safer compared to seeing loved ones indoors, but picnics will become less appealing as the mercury dips, Tam acknowledged.

She recommended prioritizing which gatherings are most important, and reducing other social interaction in the days leading up to the important gatherings.

“This will provide layers of protection to keep you and those you care about safer,” Tam said. “Just because you know people, does not mean risk is in any way reduced.”

She also provided a quick update on Canada’s coronavirus case load. As of September 4, Canada has seen more than 130,000 cases and more than 9,000 people have died. The country reported an average of 525 new cases per day in the last seven days.

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