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16 COVID-19 cases linked to Vaughan family Thanksgiving gathering

One family member with symptoms attended work in Toronto, causing 2 co-workers to be exposed
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At least 16 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 are being linked to a family's Thanksgiving gathering in Vaughan and a workplace in Toronto, according to York Region Public Health.

An extended family of 12 gathered together over a span of two weeks near the Thanksgiving weekend, sharing a single residence in Vaughan during that time, a public notice states.

Some of the family members were symptomatic with what was later confirmed to be COVID-19, and as a result of close household contact, 10 family members contracted COVID-19, including three infants.

The virus continued to spread from an individual to another household, causing an additional four individuals to be confirmed with a COVID-19 infection.

In addition, one family member attended work while symptomatic, and as a result, two individuals at the workplace contracted COVID-19.

"This large cluster of COVID-19 infections serves as an example of close contact transmission which accounts for roughly half of all cases being reported in York Region during the current wave," the public notice states.

"It can seem harmless to have a few family members or friends in your house, but it is important to remember you are potentially increasing the risk of COVID-19 transmission and exposure. If you are ill, even with mild symptoms, do not host or attend any gatherings and do not go to work."

Close contacts of all confirmed and probable cases are being investigated and have been asked to remain home and seek assessment for COVID-19, according to the public health unit, and risk of exposure to the general public is low.

The tally for confirmed and probable cases is 13 confirmed COVID-19 cases and three probable, while three additional test results are pending. Of the total cases, seven of the confirmed and three probable cases are related to families staying in one household, while another four confirmed cases are from a connected household and an additional two related to workplace transmission.

Twelve of the confirmed cases and one probable are York Region residents, while one confirmed and two probable cases live outside the region.

You can further protect yourself, your immediate family and the community by continuing to practise public health measures, including:

  • Staying home if you are ill
  • Limiting outings to essential trips
  • Avoid close contact with anyone other than your immediate household members
  • Wash or sanitizing hands frequently
  • Wearing a mask in indoor public places and where it is difficult to maintain two metres of physical distance
  • Physically distancing by maintaining a two-metre distance from others
  • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands
  • Get the flu shot
  • Download the COVID Alert app