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Canada at crisis point in pandemic, limit Thanksgiving dinner table: top doctor

Last Updated Oct 10, 2020 at 10:08 am PDT

FILE - Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Tuesday, September 8, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Summary

Health officials, prime minister urge Canadians to help bend the COVID-19 curve down ahead of Thanksgiving

Dr. Theresa Tam said Canada is at an 'important juncture' in the pandemic

Justin Trudeau said Canadians need to do everything they can to prevent the spread of the virus in the coming weeks

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) — Canada is at a crisis point in the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the country’s top doctor as officials urge Canadians to bend the curve downward heading into Thanksgiving weekend.

“This requires sustained and intentional efforts to limit contacts and reduce opportunities for transmission,” said Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam. “This will not be easy and will require hard choices between what we need to do and what we would like to do.”

Tam said Canada is at what she calls a crisis point in the pandemic, so sacrificing time around the dinner table together is a necessity.


“We are at an important juncture in the pandemic where we would very much like to see the voluntary actions of Canadians across the country be sufficient to bend the curve downward,” she said.

Dr. Howard Njoo, the country’s deputy chief public health officer, said he cancelled his Thanksgiving plans with his son because close family members should stay apart even if they don’t live together.

Responsibility of Canadians to bend curve downward

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau echoed the sentiment, saying even with health and safety measures in place, “only citizens can actually determine how these outcomes look over the coming months, that’s what we have to step up on now.”

“This coming weekend for Thanksgiving and for the weeks to come, we need people to do everything they can to prevent transmission of this virus,” Trudeau said.

He is underscoring the importance of staying home as much as possible in order to change the direction of the country’s curve.

RELATED: B.C. urged to celebrate small, local this Thanksgiving to limit spread of COVID-19

“Wear a mask and really, really pull together and lean in by stepping apart these coming weeks so that we change the direction of this curve,” Trudeau added.

Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu admits times are difficult.

“When we reduce our social contacts and stay close to home, keep our gatherings limited to our households, this is an act of love even when it doesn’t feel like it,” she said.

This comes as Ontario and Quebec both see rising case counts.

Ontario will be implementing measures in areas considered to be hotspots Friday night in an effort to curb the spread of the virus after the province reported 939 new cases, a daily record.

For the seventh time in eight days, Quebec recorded more than 1,000 infections when it announced 1,102 new cases Friday. It’s total so far is up to 84,094.

The day before, B.C. hit its own grim milestone, reporting more than 10,000 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began.

The World Health Organization reported its highest daily global total so far of coronavirus infections, with more than 350,000.

-With files from the Canadian Press