Dr. Hinshaw hands out Halloween safety tips for outdoor trick or treating this year 🎃

The province’s chief medical officer of health has given the green light to door-to-door trick or treating, provided that safety and scary go together this year.

“I believe that trick or treating is a safe activity if done outdoors and within a household group,” said Dr. Deena Hinshaw. 

“As a parent I know this can be an important and fun time for every member of the family,” Hinshaw said. “I have always loved the fact that we open our door to our neighbours to celebrate this holiday, and, to me, it embodies the community-oriented spirit that we need so much right now.” 

Hinshaw’s Halloween message contrasted with recommendations from health officials in other parts of Canada, including Toronto and Ottawa, where door-to-door trick or treating is being recommended against. 

Some good advice. Take a boo

Hinshaw shared some take-home tips. 

1. Go small. “This is not the year for Halloween parties. Keep your celebration with just your household and cohort, no more.” 

2. Monitor symptoms. “If you or your kids are feeling sick, even with mild symptoms, please stay home and please don’t hand out candy.” 

3. Mask under mask. “Make sure your child wears a non-medical mask, either under their Halloween mask or as a part of their costume.”

4. Keep distance while trick or treating. 

5. Yell from the sidewalk, and don’t ring the doorbell or knock on the door.

6. Wear a non-medical mask and find other ways, including tongs and a grabber, to hand out pre-packaged candy. Or find creative ways, like candy slides, to get the treats to the kids. 

Example of candy slide in Parkview.

7. When back home with the haul, children should wash hands and disinfect packages before digging in. “Halloween is for bringing home treats, not viruses.” 

Hinshaw also said: “This year we will need to do things a little differently, but we can have a safe Halloween if we all take reasonable precautions.” 

Numbers on the rise again

There are now 1,718 active COVID cases in the Edmonton zone, where voluntary public health measures remain in place. In all of Alberta, there are 3,519 active cases. 

Hinshaw said case numbers are rising again after the rate of growth declined at the end of last week. 

“I am very concerned about the rise in numbers,” Hinshaw said. “We are looking seriously at the spread and determining what our next steps should be.” 

The leading source of exposure is close contact, said Hinshaw, adding that many of the active cases now are the result of socializing over Thanksgiving. 

“People did not mean to spread COVID, but it is a reminder that social gatherings where distancing and masking are not used consistently are a significant risk for spread,” Hinshaw said. 

With hospitalizations up, and the number of front-line health workers in quarantine also up, Alberta Health Services is postponing non-urgent surgeries and some ambulatory care clinic visits in the Edmonton zone. Urgent, emergency and cancer surgeries will continue. 

Editor’s note: the pic of Dr. Deena Hinshaw at the top of the post is a screen shot from a live streamed news conference on October 22, 2020.