Canadians assess risk of COVID-19 while on vacation

Canadians assess risk of COVID-19 while on vacation

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Fewer Canadians gathered around glowing Christmas trees to deliver gifts with friends and family on Saturday as the novel coronavirus disrupted festivities for the second year in a row, but the holiday spirit was still shining for many.

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Public health experts have urged people over the past few weeks to keep their gatherings small and intimate – if they ever go ahead – as cases of COVID-19 surged nationwide due to an Omicron version that spread on an empty stomach .

However, dozens of people attended the afternoon mass gathering at St Michael’s Cathedral Basilica in downtown Toronto, where worshipers wore masks and stood two meters apart.

Bernadette Alexander, who was present with a friend, said the service was particularly touching because she had loved it for a long time at home.

“All we were saying is that it has been almost two years. We watch Mass on TV, but we have met in person for the first time in two years, ”said Alexander.

“Was awesome. It was wonderful. It made me cry, actually.”

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Froilla Fernandes, an international student from India who moved to Canada two months ago, attended the service on her own – her first in this country.

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“I found this service very spiritually enriching for myself today because I felt like it was something I had been missing since I moved here,” she said.

“Being able to experience this was really very moving and moving for me. I kind of cried.”

In Toronto’s St. Gabriel Parish, Christmas trees and poinsettia were displayed before a personal small mass on Saturday.

A pianist playing Christmas tunes filled the church. Green signs indicate where worshipers can sit between pews when physically separated.

Kristin O’Donlem of Toronto said she usually spends her vacations with loved ones south of the border, but because she suffers from asthma, she doesn’t feel comfortable traveling this year.

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“She still feels a little lonely,” she said. “I was with the family this time of year.”

Odunlami said this year’s festivities include a small Christmas Eve dinner with friends, vaccination checks and a virtual Zoom party with other loved ones.

More in Yarmouth, NS, Const. Ryan Bell worked his first Christmas shift on Saturday. The situation was calm and he and other Royal Canadian Legion officers helped distribute food and gifts to members in the small town of southwestern Nova Scotia.

“While driving down the streets here in the city, we didn’t see a lot of vehicles,” Bell said.

“With this pandemic, I think a lot of people are staying at home, being with their families and enjoying Christmas. ,

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Some provinces reported new diagnoses of COVID-19 on Christmas Day, although Quebec was an exception. It recorded 9,206 new cases and four additional deaths.

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In recent days, several counties have broken records for the number of infections.

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On Christmas Eve, Ontario broke the record set the day before with 9,571 new cases, while British Columbia announced a new high of 2,144 infections and Manitoba broke its own record with 742.

Nunavut, which has eight infections in several communities, ordered a complete lockdown of the region on Friday.

Back in Ontario, St. Anthony of the Padua Roman Catholic Church in Kincardine offered free Christmas Day meals in the parking lot, as he did in 2020 – instead of serving breakfast in a sit-down like it was in cases before the pandemic.

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Organizer Sam Finney said the church served 216 meals on Saturday afternoon. Meals include turkey, potatoes, turnips, stuffing, mixed vegetables, broth, cranberries and sweets. He said that this has been made possible by the donations of the members of the community.

Vini said that it means a lot to be able to provide food for those in need as well as those who will not be celebrating holidays with their loved ones this year.

Dr Nahid Dosani from Toronto said finding other ways to celebrate during this phase of the pandemic is a responsible task.

“We’ve come a long way and sacrificed a lot so far, and making the decision to plan holiday dating right now is the right thing to do.”

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