Halloween is tricky but can still be a treat, MOH says

Cathy Dobson

With local COVID-19 cases on the rise, Lambton’s medical officer of health says Halloween parties are out but a little old fashioned trick-or-treating is still OK.

“Remember, in general, that outside is low-risk,” said Dr. Sudit Ranade. “Keep it a moderate function this year… go with your family, go to a few houses, don’t go overboard.”

Ranade endorsed trick-or-treating the same day he urged local residents to “go back to a Stage 1 or Stage 2 mentality” and restrict all non-essential social interactions.

“Though things are open, we want you to really restrict your unnecessary or unessential social interactions,” he said last week.

“I’m not going to tell you exactly what those should be,” he said. “I think it’s important to leave that to some discretion, but anything that isn’t essential should be reduced and limited and eliminated.”

Following weeks with zero to a handful of active cases, Sarnia-Lambton has seen a resurgence of COVID-19. As of Monday, public health reported … active cases, with outbreaks at one unnamed business and one long-term care home, Twin Lakes Terrace.

Cases were also linked last week to three local schools: Northern Collegiate, Bright’s Grove, and Colonel Cameron in Corunna.

Ranade urged local businesses to review their pandemic protocols and ensure they’re being followed. The uptick shows how the virus can infect large numbers quickly, he said.

Anyone notified they have been in close contact with a confirmed case must self-isolate.

Though he called the recent increase a “concerning development,” he said trick-or-treating is still OK for those who want to enjoy the low-risk, one-time activity.

His said his Halloween recommendation could yet change if case counts continue to rise and new provincial guidelines are announced.

Ranade recommended trick-or-treaters keep their distance, remain with people from their own household, and stay outdoors.

“Don’t go overboard,” he said.  “A few houses, a bit of candy and call it a night.”

No child or adult should participate if they feel unwell or have any symptoms.

“In general, we want people to reduce the pattern of their social activities,” Ranade said. “COVID is spread mainly through prolonged close contact with others who have the disease.”

The number of active local COVID-19 cases, as of Monday, Oct. 19. Note: One positive case was in hospital, but because he lives outside Sarnia-Lambton does not appear in Lambton Public Health statistics.
Troy Shantz, The Journal