Rethink large holiday gatherings, parties with people you don't know: Henry

Dec 15 2021, 5:00 pm

British Columbia’s top doctor is asking everyone to keep their holiday gatherings small and limited to close family and friends.

That was one of the messages from Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, who gave an update on BC’s epidemiological modelling on Tuesday afternoon. She was joined by Health Minister Adrian Dix.

With a slight uptick in transmission and introduction of the Omicron COVID-19 variant of concern, Henry says that the virus continues to “take hold and spread rapidly” in indoor settings.

“We should not be having large parties where we’re coming indoors, particularly with people we don’t know, where we don’t know their vaccination status,” she explains.

“That is a risky thing right now and we need people to step back, to focus on having those groups with the people who are your close friends, your close family in a way that protects them.”

Henry says that this is especially important for people that live with older populations or individuals who are immunocompromised. She recognized, however, that social events are more important than ever this holiday, especially after last year’s restrictions.

During last year’s holiday season, social gatherings took a back seat in the province. Restrictions were in place that banned community gatherings and social events with anyone outside of a person’s immediate household. The measures came into effect in late November and were extended through December and into January.

“We need to have that connection, especially after last year,” Henry said. “We are in a different place. We have high rates of vaccination. We’re moving up our booster dose program, we’re protecting people.”

“Those are the things that will help us but we need to be thoughtful and prudent about our social interactions, especially over the next few weeks.”

Vincent PlanaVincent Plana

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