Dr. Hinshaw urges safe Halloween celebration

Ahead of Halloween, Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw is urging Albertans to find creative ways to safely celebrate the occasion. She noted that while active COVID-19 numbers in Alberta are trending lower, they are far higher compared with the numbers during Halloween 2020.

Last Halloween, the province had about 5,600 active cases and 141 COVID-19 patients in hospital.

As of Friday, October 22, Alberta had 10,037 active cases and 889 hospitalized patients, 191 of whom were in intensive care units.

“This Halloween, we can still have fun, but please do it in a safe way,” Dr. Hinshaw said, adding that “this is not the year for large Halloween parties.”

Below are some of the key pointers she shared in her update:

  • Try to have Halloween gatherings outdoors. Make sure the 20 gathering limit is observed.
  • For indoor Halloween gatherings, the current public health restrictions limit social gatherings in private residences to no more than 10 people from two households for those who are fully immunized.
  • Indoor private social gatherings are not permitted for eligible adults who are not fully immunized.
  • Go only with own household members and wear a non-medical mask if going trick-or-treating.
  • Wear a mask and try to limit contact with others while handing out treats. Avoid using a bowl and keep treats spaced apart while setting out treats.

“I’m asking Albertans as clearly and strongly as possible to please be wise and safe while celebrating this year,” Dr. Hinshaw said.

“While our numbers have been falling over the past few weeks with rising vaccination rates combined with our public health measures to reduce transmission, we still have a long way to go.”

Friday’s total of 10,037 active cases were about 50% lower than where they stood only less than a month ago. Alberta Health reported 20,215 active cases in its October 1 update.

Central Peace

In the Central Peace, active cases went down from 51 to 38 over a seven-day period ending Friday, October 22. Active cases are as follows:

  • Birch Hills County, 8 (+2)
  • Municipal District of Spirit River No. 133 (includes Rycroft and Spirit River), 13 (-6)
  • Saddle Hills County, 17 (-11)

More area residents have also gone to get their first or second dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

As of Friday, the number of people who have received their first jab was 3,229, up 48 from a week ago. The number of peple who have had their two doses rose to 2,857, up 82 over a week-long period.

Other Updates

  • Starting Monday, October 25, anyone aged 12 and older is required to provide government-issued proof of having received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days earlier to access a business, venue and service participating in the Restrictions Exemption Program. The program allows eligible businesses, venues and services to be exempt from capacity and operating restrictions. Those who are not fully vaccinated can still choose to provide a privately paid negative COVID-19 test from within the previous 72 hours or valid proof of medical exemption.
  • Also effective Monday, October 25, masking will be required for visitors at continuing care facilities at all times, and residents will be required to quarantine after being admitted to the facility or returning from hospital until they test negative for COVID-19. Health officials are strongly encouraging unvaccinated family and friends to not visit residents in person at this time.