As people head out and make plans for the August long weekend, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw warns Albertans to remain cautious in light of the recent rise in COVID-19 cases.

“We are coming up on the August long weekend and I know that people are excited to get outside, but we must keep in mind that after Canada day, we saw several events that resulted in the spread of COVID-19 amongst friends and families,” said Hinshaw.

She encourages all Albertans to take precautions when celebrating this weekend and focus on the things we can do and how to do them safely. Hinshaw explained, “We can enjoy camping, going to a restaurant, having a barbecue, watching a hockey game with friends and family, or visiting a loved one at a continuing care facility. To do these things, we just need to make a few adjustments to make sure we’re following public health guidance to the best of our ability.”

If Albertans are travelling somewhere, Hinshaw says to limit stops for gas and food to respect the health and safety of the communities along the way. Be sure to have a backup plan if your planned destination is too crowded upon arrival.

If Albertans plan to have a gathering for dinner or NHL viewing party, Hinshaw says to try to plan for an outdoor gathering if possible. Plan for a maximum number of people to comfortably fit two metres apart. Ask guests to bring their own food, drink and utensils to limit potential contact.

Be sure to follow all facility policies when visiting someone in continuing care and allow for proper screening before visiting.

Hinshaw also wants to remind people, wherever you go, to follow the health guidelines put in place to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Remain socially distance when possible, wear masks in crowded places, and wash and sanitize hands and high touch surfaces.

“Only by observing these measures can we all help prevent the spread while staying socially connected this August long weekend and beyond. COVID-19 will not take a break because it is a holiday. Careless behaviour today can lead to sharp increases in cases next week and the week after,” explained Hinshaw.

Dr. Hinshaw wrapped up by advising people to check in on friends and family of high risk to make sure they are doing okay during this time. “I would like to wish all Albertans a happy and healthy long weekend. Be wise, be safe, and let's all look out for each other.”