“It’s been a long journey for everyone,” said Medical Officer of Health for the Northwestern Health Unit, Dr. Kit Young Hoon.

As we continue to inch closer to the holidays and the Christmas season, the last thing Dr Kit Young-Hoon wants to explain is even further COVID-19 restrictions for the community, but she stresses that now is one of the most vital times to adhere to all public health measures, to help slow the spread of COVID-19 into the holidays and 2021.

“This has been a trying situation for everyone. But now is the time that we need to remain vigilant. We are seeing cases increase around us and within our own area.”

While Young-Hoon and Public Health Ontario are both also recommending virtual and outdoor celebrations over the holidays, especially for those who are most at-risk, residents are allowed to still celebrate in-person as long as you stay socially-distant.

“We are recommending that people only stay within two meters of those within their household. So you’re asked not to come within two meters of people not within your household. We have to try another way of connecting with others.”

As well, Young-Hoon says those who live alone are also able to visit with another social bubble or household. 

“It’s really important for people who live by themselves to be allowed to bubble or to interact closely with another household. That is part of the recommendations from Public Health.”

“They should be interacting with another household and they can bubble with another household. Public health measures can take a toll and can have a negative effect on mental health and being socially-connected."

As well as staying socially-distant, all residents are asked to wear masks whenever possible, to continue following proper hand hygiene and to stay home from all celebrations or gatherings if you are ill.

“I know this is really hard, but it’s something that we have to do for our healthcare system to be protected, for us to recover, and to be able to prevent the spread of COVID-19, knowing that the vaccine is coming and will be distributed in 2021.”

Last week, Premier Doug Ford said COVID-19 vaccines would be available in early 2021 but supply will be limited. Healthcare workers and residents of long-term care homes are expected to receive the first doses.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said a small number of Canadians could be immunized by the holidays, as the first doses of the Pfizer Vaccine are set to arrive next week. Just under 250,000 doses are expected by the end of the year.

For more information:
Young-Hoon praises health unit staff for effort, dedication
Health unit suggests flexible holiday travel plans