Canada

Halloween a go despite COVID-19, says Alberta’s chief medical officer

EDMONTON — Alberta’s chief medical officer of health says the province won’t be cancelling Halloween over COVID-19 fears.

But Dr. Deena Hinshaw says that means parents and kids have to make sure the fright-fest is scary for the right reasons.

The province has released a series of guidelines on its website on how both trick-or-treaters and candy handers can enjoy the night safely.

Hinshaw says because trick-or-treating takes place outside, Halloween can actually be safer than other holidays.

She says parents should consider costumes that allow kids to wear a mask.

If the weather is good, Hinshaw adds people may want to hand out candy outside rather than at their front door.

Hinshaw says she’s been getting many questions about whether the beloved holiday will go ahead.

“I have no plans to suggest that Alberta cancel Halloween this year,” she said Thursday. “My own children would never forgive me.”

Hinshaw’s announcement came after she listed another 173 new cases in the province.

They include a new outbreak at the Foothills Hospital in Calgary, where nearly 300 staff were isolating as the number of COVID-19 infections at the busy hospital continued to grow. The Foothills is a major centre for trauma, high-risk obstetrics and stroke patients.

Many of the cases are linked to cardiac units, including intensive care.

As of Thursday, 35 patients, 29 workers and three visitors had contracted the virus.

One patient had died, bringing the total at the Foothills outbreak to five.

Hinshaw said there are 133 schools in the province either under alert or suffering an outbreak of COVID-19.

But she added those schools only add up to 257 active cases.

Eleven of those schools have seen any likely in-school transmission, Hinshaw said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 1, 2020.

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