Hinshaw shares three essential recommendations for party and social gathering hosts

Alberta’s top public health official says it’s still possible.

“It is possible to hold a safe gathering,” said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.

If hosts and guests are diligent in following infection-control rules, she stressed.

Hinshaw said the growth of COVID-19 cases in the province is linked to gatherings. She mentioned these by name: weddings, funerals, family reunions, prayer gatherings, informal meetings of friends, backyard parties and community groups.

“There has been a particularly high attack rate in family gatherings,” said Hinshaw, adding hosts should keep three key recommendations front of mind.

1: Keep the event small in number and held outdoors whenever possible.

2: Insist on health guidelines being followed.
Asking someone to wash their hands or reminding someone to keep two metres of distance “is the most loving thing we can do for each other at the moment,” said Hinshaw.

3: Keep a written list of attendees for at least two weeks.
“It may seem silly to write down which family members come over for a visit, but quick access to accurate information speeds up contact tracing immensely.”

Zoomed out

Hinshaw made her comments on Monday, August 24, during a news conference where she
revealed that Edmonton continues to lead the province with 631 active cases of COVID-19.

And where she admitted that her advice to hosts and guests runs against the way humans are “hard-wired” to be together.

“Social connection is vital to our mental well-being and I know that we have all missed these activities immensely,” Hinshaw said.

“We crave hugs with grandchildren, we want to share meals and we are keen to catch up with our extended family members. We miss our aunts and uncles, cousins, parents and grandparents, and we’re tired of only connecting through telephone or video chats.”

But the virus uses us against ourselves.

“When we let our guard down, the virus has its opportunity,” said Hinshaw.

Editor’s note: the pic at the top of the post shows Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, on Monday, August 24, 2020.