covid turkey ontario

Ontario medical officer says not to undercook turkey when asked about Thanksgiving risks

Sure, COVID-19 is getting a lot of attention right now, what with case numbers spiking beyond anything we've seen before, but have you heard about Salmonella? You have? Oh...

Well, in lieu of any actual guidance around how to conduct Thanksgiving celebrations this year amid a global pandemic, Ontario's top doctor would like to remind you that undercooked turkey can make you sick.

Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health for the province, gave the time-honoured advice during a press conference on Tuesday when asked about whether or not the government would restrict Thanksgiving gatherings.

Williams didn't quite have an answer specific to COVID-19, except for to say that we should be strict with our social bubbles and that we shouldn't host massive shindigs.

"If you're going to have a Thanksgiving where you would like to maybe have a very large extended group into your location, we may be asking that you would limit that, and that you would keep it to those that are part of your household and family or others," he said.

Still, with the gut-busting autumn holiday now less than two weeks away, Ontarians who are planning to see family members or welcome kids home from university are wondering whether or not they'll still be allowed to do so.

Who knows? Not the provincial government, it would seem.

"We're waiting for some further recommendations from the public health measures table," said Williams of any potential provincially-ordered or suggested Thanksgiving-specific measures, noting that further advice in regards to the holiday would be along "shortly."

But COVID isn't the only thing you need to worry about this year.

"We have to emphasize to cook the turkey well, because we do have other outbreaks at this time, usually Salmonella," said Williams in an important but unusual diversion from the topic at hand.

"And so we ask people to be careful and manage their proper procedures of handling, cooking and preparation and serving."

Fair, but some residents questioned the remark on Twitter, given that we have yet to see the province's full "Keeping Ontarians Safe: Preparing for Future Waves of COVID-19" plan, as promised last week.

The government did release another facet of its plan today, however: an investment of close to $540 million into protecting residents, caregivers, and staff in long-term care homes from future surges and waves of COVID-19.

Ontario will be making some changes to its visitor policy for long-term care homes to that effect, allowing essential caretakers only as of October 5... exactly one week short of Thanksgiving.

"We want to make sure that we can have a true Thanksgiving, be thankful for the health we have and that of our family and friends,"  said Williams of Thanksgiving risks.

"There's more to it than COVID, but COVID's a big thing."

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