‘Plan ahead:’ Toronto’s top doctor urges families to limit large gatherings on Thanksgiving
Bryann Aguilar, CP24.com
Published Wednesday, September 23, 2020 6:50PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, September 23, 2020 7:06PM EDT
While there are more than two weeks left before Thanksgiving, Toronto's top public health official is urging families to plan ahead and limit large gatherings to curb the spread of COVID-19.
During the city's COVID-19 briefing, Dr. Eileen de Villa said close contact with extended family on holidays that usually see huge get-togethers could drive up coronavirus cases.
"This is why everyone needs to start thinking about how to celebrate important days in a way that keeps us all safe. COVID-19 spreads when given the chance," de Villa said.
"I know it's a big ask. It's hard to do things differently and can be complicated to figure out how. But this year, following tradition is not the best thing to do."
De Villa said the resurgence of COVID-19 is concerning and Torontonians need to follow public health measures to stop the spread consistently.
"The virus needs to move from one person to another to keep replicating. If we keep distance, wear our masks and wash our hands, the virus has fewer and fewer places to go, and it begins to die out. It won't be right away. But with sustained commitment, the infection rate will drop," she said.
The city already announced the cancellation of some fall and winter events, including the Toronto Christmas Market, Cavalcade of Lights, and New Year's Eve celebrations on Nathan Phillips Square, due to the upward trend of virus activity in the city.
"Our experiences this fall will be the result of how we live in a world with COVID-19," de Villa said.
"It is not too late to reverse the trend of rising infections."
De Villa commended the province’s move to limit private gatherings to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors, saying that it will help in preventing virus spread.
Toronto Public Health reported 129 COVID-19 infections on Wednesday, bringing the city's total to 17,971. Of those cases, 15,526 have recovered, while 1,178 have died. Forty people are currently hospitalized.
TPH also launched an enhanced COVID-19 data dashboard to provide more detailed information in order to help residents better comprehend how the virus has affected the community.
De Villa said the dashboard changes are based on the feedback from the public and local health experts.
"I feel confident the information and content format represents an improvement of high value, and I encourage you to visit it to stay informed," she said.