COVID-19 levels on the rise as Ottawa residents gather for Thanksgiving

With COVD-19 levels climbing in the capital, Ottawa Public Health is asking people to rethink their Thanksgiving plans, even suggesting taking the traditional dinner outdoors as one option.

“We were going to have a wider family gathering which we are not going to have now,” said Ottawa resident Anthony Armstrong. His family is switching their plans after his sister tested positive for the virus this past week.

“I’m going to just meet with my daughter,” he said. “She was sick in the last couple weeks. She’s okay now but it’s just an indication that there has to be a certain degree of caution.”

The number of COVID-19 patients in Ontario hospitals is now at a two-month high and health officials are expressing concerns about the impact of the rising case count combined with holiday gatherings.

“The reality is we’re seeing more COVID, flus and cold,” said Dr. Dale Kalina. “It’s important to keep everyone healthy around you because we want to keep people out of the hospital. Our health care is so stretched right now.”

The infectious diseases doctor with Joseph Brant Hospital said getting a booster can help keep people out of hospitals.

“Even if you haven’t had a third or fourth booster, get a bivalent because it targets what we are seeing right now.”

The uptick of the fourth dose is not as fast as previous shots. The latest data show 225,000 people in Ottawa have so far received a fourth dose. The COVID-19 bivalent booster has been available to most for almost two weeks.

“I’m probably going to book myself for that one because I am over 60,” said Kristina Paquette, while out for a walk with her son and granddaughter. She tells CTV Ottawa she’s not too concerned about this weekend.

“We have a small family, so we don’t have a big gathering to worry about,” she said.

But they are taking measures to keep healthy.

“Usually we check if anyone is sick or we reschedule or they sit out,” said her son, Julian. 

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