CK Public Health to issue Halloween guidelines after province
By Jenna Cocullo, Local Journalism Initiative
The holiday season has arrived and COVID-19 has not left.
With that in mind, residents are being asked by Chatham-Kent’s top doc to celebrate only with their household, and for out-of-town students to stay put.
Dr. David Colby, Chatham-Kent’s medical officer of health, continues to be worried over pandemic fatigue, especially with Thanksgiving weekend here.
“As you know, we have a very small number of active cases here in Chatham-Kent. And there have been concerns expressed not only with the “I’m-sick-of-all-this” type of stuff, but also some inconsistency in provincial policies, or what appears to be an inconsistency,” he said.
Colby said the best thing to do while the province is in the midst of the second wave is to keep things to one household.
“Don’t shoot the messenger. This only makes sense, and this is being said all the way from the chief medical officer of Canada, through the chief medical officer of Ontario and the local medical officers of health.”
The biggest worry for CK Public Health –which reported only two active COVID-19 cases remaining, and no new cases, on Thursday – are individuals from high prevalence areas travelling to the municipality not knowing that they are infected.
Colby said public health units are finding a lot of individuals who go visit their family thinking they may just have a cold, not wanting to get tested because of the wait times, when in fact it is COVID-19.
The majority of people are currently contracting the virus through close contacts, specifically family members.
“So we’re asking students not to come home. We’re asking people to stick to their households, meet virtually. And nobody likes this. We don’t like it. But we can’t allow this to spread Willy-nilly and overload our acute care settings.” he said.
Colby is staying mum on local decisions regarding Halloween until Ontario releases its guidelines, expected to come out “imminently.” A local medical officer of health can add on more restrictions to provincial directions, and cannot loosen them. He did allude to the fact that a restrictive approach was not in the works.
“I’m not sure…that we can just simply cancel Halloween because I think it’s going to happen anyway. I mean, the Grinch tried that with Christmas and it didn’t work,” he said.
Social distancing will be a must for any Halloween activity. Colby said he is not worried that candy will serve as a vehicle for spreading the coronavirus infection.
“The dynamics of COVID-19 would not indicate that this is a foodborne infection and similarly any inanimate object that can serve as a vehicle for infection. A lot of people spend a disproportionate amount of time worrying about that.”