by Morinville News Staff
In her daily news briefing Wednesday, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, recommended new actions Albertans could take to decrease the risk of spreading COVID-19.
“All of us have a role and a responsibility to stop the spread, and there are actions all of us can take,” Hinshaw said. “These extend to our homes, our families, and our traditions.”
Given the Mar. 11-14 Edmonton Bonspiel that infected almost half of the 47 healthcare workers who attended included a buffet where utensils were shared, Hinshaw is now advising Albertans to limit the sharing of open food in the home.
“Don’t share snacks like a family popcorn bowl, open candy, nuts or other snacks like this,” Hinshaw said, adding households should also limit the use of communal fruit bowls. “Don’t share cups, drinks or utensils, and have one person as the designated person to serve all others so that a serving utensil is handled only by one person.”
Hinshaw said it might seem strange to limit such activities in people’s own homes. However, the Chief Medical Officer said it is an important modelling parents can share with children and another step to keep each other safe.
But the province’s Chief Medical Officer is also suggesting Alberta families partner with a cohort family as a creative way to keep children occupied and connect with one another. In such a scenario, Hinshaw said the two families would commit to focusing on each other while isolating themselves from everyone else.
“By doing this, the two families would only be exposed to each other,” Hinshaw said. “By limiting close contacts, children would have opportunities to play in a controlled environment, and parents would have opportunities to connect.”
But Hinshaw cautions that the concept only works if both families are completely committed, members in both families remain healthy, do not have underlying medical conditions, and aren’t at high risk like seniors. She added the participants must not have recently travelled outside of the country, and must not be showing any symptoms.
The Chief Medical Officer also told Albertans Wednesday that traditions would need to be changed with several significant religious holidays on the horizon, something she had opportunity to discuss with faith leaders Tuesday.
“Now is not the time to plan any travel, even to other cities or provinces, or to attend large family gatherings or dinners,” Hinshaw said. “We must maintain social distancing practices even when we are together with family. Now is not the time to visit grandparents for Sunday dinner. Now is not the time to host or attend a potluck with friends. Now is not the time to plan for a family reunion. This is the time to stay home and work together to limit the spread.”
Hinshaw noted many Alberta families are using video chat software to stay connected.
Up-to-the-minute information on COVID-19 in Alberta is available at https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx?.