Tuesday, August 4, 2020
Politics

How risky is it to get a haircut, go to the gym? New gov’t site has the answers

How risky is it to get a haircut, go to the gym? New gov't site has the answers
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OTTAWA —
With both COVID-19 case counts and the number of risk-heavy activities open to Canadians on the rise, the government has set up a new tool for Canadians to gauge the risk levels of their plans outside the home.

On the federal government’s COVID-19 website, a page called “Going out safely during COVID-19” is now included in the site’s awareness resources.

The page breaks down different activities Canadians in most jurisdictions can now participate in, listing them from “low risk,” such as getting takeout or having a picnic, to “high risk,” including gyms, bars and sexual activity with new people.

It also features a downloadable, printable PDF of the information featuring colour-coded risk levels associated with various activities. It warns Canadians to be wary of any plans that involve one of the three Cs: closed spaces, crowded places, and close faces.

Health Minister Patty Hajdu announced the new tool during a press conference on Friday, encouraging Canadians to use it before heading out for their weekend plans.

“We have the ability to choose our destiny here in Canada. It is in all of our hands. So ask yourself before you go out this weekend — is what I’m about to do worth the risk? Is it worth the risk that I might end up very sick, or that someone in my circle will?” Hajdu said.

Hajdu announced the new tool as COVID-19 cases have begun slowly creeping up across the country, particularly among those under the age of 39. Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam laid out the new figures, which Hajdu called “concerning,” during the Friday press conference.

“The lowest average daily case count was 273 reported in early July. However, most recently we are starting to see the daily case count trend upwards, again, with the latest seven-day rolling average at 487 cases being reported daily,” Tam said.

“Although we know we can’t eliminate all cases and clusters of COVID-19, we need to keep on top of things, to prevent re-acceleration of growth that could quickly get out of hand.”

Tam also reiterated what other public health officials across the country have said in recent days: that the bulk of these new cases are among younger Canadians.

“Younger age groups are not invincible against COVID-19. In fact, over 60 per cent of cases, reporting to the public health agency this week…were under the age of 39, and almost one third of these younger adults were hospitalized,” Tam said.

Tam warned that fewer than one per cent of Canadians have been exposed to the virus, leaving the Canadian population “highly susceptible” to the virus.

“If we let our guard down the disease will work its way to our parents and grandparents and other vulnerable people need to be protected, through our actions. Now is the chance to be a lifesaver,” Tam said.

Hajdu echoed the message.

“Listen, Canadians, we’ve come so far together and we can continue to protect each other in our new normal. Whenever possible, we have to choose less contact, safer contact and smaller spaces,” she said.

“Let’s continue to protect each other. It’s in all of our hands.”

Download the government’s new risk assessment tool here.



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