October 8th, 2022
Canadians could be in a better position ahead of this holiday weekend. Unfortunately, the premature lifting of public health protections like masking and the failure to invest in indoor air quality has led to higher rates of infection compared to Thanksgiving weekends of past years.
More cases compared to Thanksgiving weekend 2020 & 2021
Cases are currently much higher, which is concerning as we usually see cases take off after the Thanksgiving weekend (see graph above). With no protections in place, kids in school, less testing/surveillance, and with new variants being detected, this may set us up for a difficult fall. This coming at a time where more kids than ever are getting sick, healthcare/frontline workers are exhausted, and hospitals across the country are above capacity with some emergency rooms shutting down. Every resident in Canada needs access to health services at some point: preventing Covid infection/related illness is one of the best things we can do to keep healthcare running and support our healthcare professionals.
Shorter re-infection time with omicron variants.
There had been some information sent to some schools in Atlantic Canada suggesting that reinfection wasn’t possible or likely within 90 days: THIS IS INCORRECT FOR OMICRON. We know re-infections can occur with several weeks and a recent study has shown that these quick re-infections aren’t a rare occurrence.
The graph above shows that a significant number of re-infections occur less than 10 weeks following the last Covid-19 infection. It also shows that the BA.2 variant represents a lot of these quick re-infections. The weekly variant breakdown in the table below shows that BA.2 is the fastest growing variant in Canada right now. While it represents a smaller proportion in this table, it is important to remember that this represents swabs collected 3-4 weeks ago. There is usually a 3 week turn around when sending samples to the National Lab in Winnipeg to be sequenced.
The good news is that having this information means that we are in a better position to take what precautions we feel necessary for ourselves and our families.
Newfoundland & Labrador
Prince Edward Island
Actions we can take to stay safe this Thanksgiving Weekend.
Harvard’s School of Public Health put out a great guide to gathering safely during Thanksgiving which can be found HERE.
Some safety tips:
- Used Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) before attending any event. #Test2Protect
- Do not attend events if ill, even if RATs are negative.
- Consider reducing you number of contacts, especially if attending multiple events.
- Eat outside if possible.
- Offer masks if staying indoors. #CovidIsAirborne
- Increase Ventilation by opening windows.
- Check indoor air quality with a CO2 monitor if possible, more info HERE.
- Use HEPA or CR Boxes to filter the air.
- Considering virtual or a mix of virtual/in-person so that everyone can feel safe and included.
- Try to respect that we don’t all have the same risk factors of severe outcome or comfort level. Whatever you believe, I’m sure everyone wants their family and friends to feel comfortable and safe during gatherings. We’ve lost enough to Covid-19 already.
- If you have concerns, try to bring them up with family before an event and discuss in terms of how you feel about your personal risk and comfort level. Try to find common ground because family gatherings shouldn’t be political. You don’t need to believe all the same things to connect: it’s just about respecting the concerns of vulnerable family members and adapting.
- Let’s make finding common ground the #NewNormal in this era of “living with Covid”. Clean air, staying home if sick, and staying socially connected with loved ones is something most everyone can agree on. #StaySafe!