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TAM TALKS TURKEY

Thanks­giv­ing cau­tion over COVID

- JIL­LIAN KESTLERD'AMOURS Canada News · Thanksgiving Day · Celebrations · Quebec · Ontario · Toronto · Ottawa · Manitoba · Grand Rapids · Winnipeg · Canadian House of Commons · Theresa Tam · Regional Municipality of Peel

Plan ahead to make sure this year's Thanks­giv­ing hol­i­day is safe dur­ing the COVID-19 pan­demic, Canada's top pub­lic health of­fi­cer urged on Sun­day as case counts con­tin­ued to soar in sev­eral parts of the coun­try.

Dr. Theresa Tam said in­door hol­i­day gath­er­ings of fam­ily or friends should be kept small, es­pe­cially in prov­inces such as Que­bec and On­tario where in­fec­tion rates are high­est.

“We've got some se­ri­ous plan­ning to do,” Tam said in a state­ment re­leased nearly a week be­fore the na­tional hol­i­day on Oct. 12.

“Not the care­free plan­ning we had last Thanks­giv­ing but rather some in­ge­nious Cana­dian COVID-19 ' hol­i­day hacks' that will en­sure there are no viruses in­vited or passed around at our gath­er­ings.”

Tam said peo­ple cel­e­brat­ing out­doors should fol­low phys­i­cal dis­tanc­ing guide­lines and en­cour­aged peo­ple to avoid shar­ing food and other ob­jects dur­ing their meals.

She also sug­gested that Cana­di­ans opt for vir­tual Thanks­giv­ing din­ners in­stead of in-per­son gath­er­ings.

Her ad­vice comes as new COVID-19 case num­bers con­tin­ued their up­ward tra­jec­tory in sev­eral parts of the coun­try, most no­tably in cen­tral Canada, where tighter re­stric­tions have been put in place in re­cent days to try to pre­vent the spread of the virus.

Que­bec re­ported more than 1,000 new di­ag­noses for the third straight day on Sun­day, while On­tario has recorded more than 500 cases ev­ery day for the past week.

The Que­bec gov­ern­ment an­nounced plans to move three towns in the Gaspe­sie re­gion to its high­est COVID-19 alert level on Mon­day, and urged res­i­dents to min­i­mize their con­tacts with peo­ple out­side their homes.

In On­tario, stricter lim­its on restau­rants, bars and fit­ness fa­cil­i­ties took ef­fect in three main hot spots — Toronto, Peel Re­gion, and Ottawa — this week­end in a bid to halt the surg­ing case num­bers in those re­gions.

The prov­ince also has an­nounced other mea­sures aimed at ad­dress­ing a test­ing back­log, all of which take ef­fect this week.

Man­i­toba said Sun­day that mul­ti­ple peo­ple tested pos­i­tive for COVID-19 in Lit­tle Grand Rapids First Na­tion af­ter at­tend­ing events at a recre­ation cen­tre late last month.

The prov­ince said the chief and coun­cil of the east­ern Man­i­toba com­mu­nity have or­dered res­i­dents to stay home and only go out for med­i­cal ap­point­ments and test­ing. If es­sen­tial sup­plies are needed, only one per­son should ven­ture out to col­lect them.

Man­i­toba also re­ported one new virus death, a man in his 50s in the Win­nipeg re­gion, who be­came the 23rd per­son to die from COVID-19 in the prov­ince.

Mean­while, Cana­di­ans strug­gling with the fall­out of the pan­demic will be able to start ap­ply­ing on Mon­day for two new ben­e­fits from the fed­eral gov­ern­ment af­ter leg­is­la­tion cre­at­ing them was rushed through the House of Com­mons last week.

The first is a care­giver ben­e­fit tar­get­ing Cana­di­ans with young chil­dren forced out of school or day-care set­tings due to the virus. It pro­vides $500 per week for up to 26 weeks to those with chil­dren un­der 12 who can't work more than half­time due to pan­demic- re­lated care­giv­ing re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

The ben­e­fit, which is only payable to one worker in a house­hold, is also avail­able to those who can't work be­cause a fam­ily mem­ber is sick, has to quar­an­tine or is at high risk of COVID-19.

The sec­ond ben­e­fit is a two-week paid sick leave worth up to $1,000 for work­ers who can't work more than half the week be­cause they have con­tracted COVID-19 or have an un­der­ly­ing con­di­tion that puts them more at risk of the ill­ness.

Start­ing Oct. 12, Cana­di­ans will also be able to start ap­ply­ing for a third pro­gram that re­places the $ 500- per- week Canada Emer­gency Re­sponse Ben­e­fit that has formed the main sup­port for Cana­di­ans un­able to work due to COVID-19.

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 ?? BLAIR GABLE / REUTERS FILES ?? Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief pub­lic health of­fi­cer, says peo­ple need to plan ahead to make sure their Thanks­giv­ing cel­e­bra­tions are safe.
BLAIR GABLE / REUTERS FILES Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief pub­lic health of­fi­cer, says peo­ple need to plan ahead to make sure their Thanks­giv­ing cel­e­bra­tions are safe.

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