Virtual Thanksgiving gatherings urged to control COVID-19


OTTAWA — Health Minister Patty Hajdu is telling Canadians to celebrate Thanksgiving virtually this weekend to avoid spreading COVID-19.

She says it is “an act of love” to celebrate over video links instead of in person because of the rising number COVID-19 cases.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, says meeting indoors can create a false sense of security, and increase the risk of spreading the novel coronavirus.

“Too close is too close even if you are outdoors,” Tam added.

Federal officials said earlier Tuesday that 3.4 million Canadians have uploaded the COVID Alert App.

A total of 160,000 of those uploads occurred in the last 24 hours, officials said in a briefing Tuesday.

They could not say which provinces saw the highest uptick in usage.

Quebec became the latest province to adopt the application on Monday.

Canada’s two most populous provinces remain COVID-19 hot spots, with Quebec setting a record for new daily case counts.

Cases are surging in several parts of the country but Quebec and Ontario account for about 80 per cent of the country’s total.

Quebec reported 1,364 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 Tuesday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in that province to 81,014.

It was Quebec’s fifth consecutive day of more than 1,000 new diagnoses, eclipsing Monday’s record of 1,191.

Ontario’s case count fell slightly today to 548 new cases, down from 615 on Monday. But Ontario has also reduced its testing over the last few days as assessment centres have switched from walk-ins to appointment systems.

Quebec and Ontario have seen rising cases in recent weeks, with their daily case counts reaching levels not seen since the spring.