Lambton’s top doc urges social diet this Christmas

Dr. Sudit Ranade, Lambton's Acting Medical Officer of Health,

Lambton’s medical officer of health is urging people to go on a “social diet” this Christmas.

Dr. Sudit Ranade is asking people to keep social interactions small as the newest COVID-19 variant – Omicron – makes an impact on the province.

The number of people becoming ill in Ontario is rapidly rising. Sunday saw 4,177 people test positive for COVID-19, 3,784 Monday and 3,453 Tuesday.

In Lambton, there are now 148 ill with COVID-19, with 16 new cases reported Tuesday. And another Lambton resident has passed away this week.

Sunday, all businesses had to reduce their capacity to 50 per cent. Sports venues, movie theatres and concert venues can’t serve food right now. Bars and restaurants can only have 10 people at a table. Last call will be 10 pm and the businesses must close at 11 pm.

And social gatherings indoors – like your Christmas party – should now be limited to no more than 10 people indoors or 25 people outdoors.

That’s where Ranade’s social diet comes into play. “Due to the high transmissibility of the Omicron variant, any type of social gathering presents a risk whether you are vaccinated or not,” said Ranade in a news release Monday. “I realize this may be extremely difficult for some, but to protect our health-care system, I strongly suggest residents go on a ‘social diet’ this holiday season and only do what is necessary.

“Have the conversation with the people that you’re gathering with about what their risk tolerance is, because you cannot really guarantee that even if everybody tests negative, that you won’t actually have a person at that party who has Omicron or COVID,” he told reporters Thursday.

Ranade also recommends people “don’t go anywhere if you’re not feeling well and the smaller the better.

“We’re trying to, we’re trying to get people onto a social diet here. So it’s smaller. Smaller, smaller, smaller is better in terms of gathering.

What about those hockey tournaments – such as SilverStick – which are a staple of the Christmas season? Ranade says he has no plans to curb those types of activities.

“You could stop some of those activities, but this is still going to spread in other areas, unless we absolutely shut everything down, including people’s social interactions.

“And unless we actually did it last week, not much is going to change the trajectory. And so because of that, I wouldn’t be so eager to focus on one particular setting or area or sector or event, because there going to be so many other things that people are doing privately that are going to actually spread this disease as well.”