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Canada’s Halloween is not canceled, but a hockey stick could come in handy

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canadian children can go trick-or-treating on Halloween despite being in the middle of a second wave of COVID-19, the country’s top health officials say, as long as they practice physical distancing, wear masks and wash their hands.

In Canada as in the United States, Halloween brings armies of children dressed in spooky costumes out onto the streets in search of candy and maybe a fright or two.

For parents, this year’s Halloween is truly a scary prospect, however, as coronavirus case numbers climb. Canada recorded 975 new infections on Monday, and the prime minister warned last week that the country is at a “tipping point” in its battle against a second surge.

“We can have Halloween… It’s possible to give and receive candy safely,” Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer, told a news conference on Tuesday.

“There are some really interesting ideas where people are handing out treats on the end of a hockey stick,” added Dr. Theresa Tam, chief medical officer. “Pre-packaging your treats so people are not rummaging in a bowl of candies is actually important.”

More tips, like equipping the kids with small bottles of hand sanitizer, will be posted on the Health Ministry’s website, she said.

Health experts agree it is important to have “some degree of normality” during the pandemic, Tam said, but added that staying outdoors, physical distancing and wearing masks that “could turn into part of your costume” are necessary.

(Reporting by Steve Scherer; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

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Canada’s Halloween Is Not Canceled, but a Hockey Stick Could Come in Handy | World News

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canadian children can go trick-or-treating on Halloween despite being in the middle of a second wave of COVID-19, the country’s top health officials say, as long as they practice physical distancing, wear masks and wash their hands.

In Canada as in the United States, Halloween brings armies of children dressed in spooky costumes out onto the streets in search of candy and maybe a fright or two.

For parents, this year’s Halloween is truly a scary prospect, however, as coronavirus case numbers climb. Canada recorded 975 new infections on Monday, and the prime minister warned last week that the country is at a “tipping point” in its battle against a second surge.

“We can have Halloween… It’s possible to give and receive candy safely,” Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer, told a news conference on Tuesday.

“There are some really interesting ideas where people are handing out treats on the end of a hockey stick,” added Dr. Theresa Tam, chief medical officer. “Pre-packaging your treats so people are not rummaging in a bowl of candies is actually important.”

More tips, like equipping the kids with small bottles of hand sanitizer, will be posted on the Health Ministry’s website, she said.

Health experts agree it is important to have “some degree of normality” during the pandemic, Tam said, but added that staying outdoors, physical distancing and wearing masks that “could turn into part of your costume” are necessary.

(Reporting by Steve Scherer; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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Westwood BOH Offers Tips For Halloween During Pandemic

WESTWOOD, MA —Westwood’s Board of Health is offering tips to keep trick-or-treaters safe from the coronavirus while allowing them to enjoy Halloween.

In a statement to the community, the board warned residents that trick-or-treating may increase their risk of contracting COVID-19 and that Westwood is deemed a “moderate risk” for the virus, according to the state Department of Public Health. The moderate risk designation means the town has an average COVID-19 case count of between 4-8 per 100,000 people and a percent positive test rate around 1.0.

Westwood has reported 176 COVID-19 cases as of Oct. 7.

“Being that case counts fluctuate, it is difficult to look forward and predict what our case count or percent positivity rate will be at the end of October 2020. With that in mind, at this time we can only advise residents to participate in activities designated as “Lower risk” by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in their Fall Holiday Celebrations Guidance,” the Board of Health said.

Among the tips the board offered were wearing face masks, aside from Halloween costume masks, frequently washing your hands and trick-or-treating only within your immediate family, rather than forming groups.

For those planning on giving out candy, the board recommends placing treats at the end of your walkway or driveway instead of handing them to trick-or-treaters.

“As a final reminder, if you are going to be out at dusk on Halloween or any evening until the first frost you should use an approved insect repellent to protect your selves from mosquito bites,” the board said.

This article originally appeared on the Westwood Patch

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Don’t Overdo the Halloween Candy, or Your Smile May Suffer | Health News

By Steven Reinberg, HealthDay Reporter

(HealthDay)

SUNDAY, Oct. 11, 2020 (HealthDay News) – – COVID-19 may change the look of Halloween this year, but dressing up and indulging in some sweets is all part of the fun, even if your kids can’t go door to door.

And experts say one night of eating candy won’t have a big effect on your teeth if it’s done in moderation.

“It is all about having self-control or parental control,” said Dr. Gregory Olson, chair of pediatric dentistry at the University of Texas Health School of Dentistry.

“Having a piece of candy here and there won’t do too much damage to a healthy mouth, but the type of candy you pick, how many you eat, how long it lasts, and how you care for your teeth afterward could make all the difference,” Olson said in a school news release.

The worst candies for teeth are hard or chewy candies like gummy worms and taffy, Olson said. That’s because they’re in your mouth longer and can stick to your teeth, causing harm if not washed out.

“Sour candy adds another level of harm to gummies because they are both sticky and acidic. Although it’s extra-tasty, eating a lot of this candy can cause tooth enamel to break down or weaken, leading to cavities,” Olson said.

It might be best to pick up chocolate, the darker the better. Chocolate is the best candy for your teeth, Olson said. “It melts in your mouth pretty quickly, meaning it won’t stick around as long to cause cavities.”

To retain your smile, Olson suggests the following:

  • Brush your teeth, at least two times a day.
  • Floss at least once a day – – more often if food is stuck between the teeth.
  • Watch children as they brush their teeth to ensure they are brushing thoroughly.
  • Schedule visits to the dentist.
  • Limit sweets.

Copyright © 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Trick Or Treat? JeffCo Health Department Weighs In On Halloween

JEFFERSON COUNTY, AL — With Halloween just a few weeks away, many families, neighborhoods and communities are looking at options for celebrating the holiday amid a pandemic. The Jefferson County Department of Health weighed in Thursday on trick-or-treating this year, and the opinion may not be what kids want to hear.

Dr. Wesley Willeford, medical director of disease control for the the JCDH, said dressing up for Halloween is fine, but trick-or-treating, at least the way it is normally done, must change in 2020.

“In-person trick-or-treating where a child goes door-to- door, probably isn’t the best idea right now,” he said. “The thing that we worry about is if you have a lot of kids who go around and see lots of people, if one of those kids or one of the adults that are with them has COVID-19 you could potentially spread that to a lot of people. So, we’re really trying to think of ways to let it happen and let it happen safely, but trying to protect everyone at the same time.”

Some suggestions Willeford offered was to put out “goody bags” where the kids can get a bag of candy or treats and go, without any contact.

The Jefferson County recommendations follow closely what the Centers for Disease Control released in September regarding Halloween festivities.

The “high risk” Halloween activities, according to the CDC:

  • Participating in traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed to children who go door to door

  • Having trunk-or-treat where treats are handed out from trunks of cars lined up in large parking lots

  • Going to an indoor haunted house where people may be crowded together and screaming

  • Going on hayrides or tractor rides with people who are not in your household

  • Using alcohol or drugs, which can cloud judgement and increase risky behaviors

  • Traveling to a rural fall festival that is not in your community if you live in an area with community spread of COVID-19

This article originally appeared on the Birmingham Patch

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Plan Ahead to Keep Halloween Safe for Kids With Asthma, Allergies | Health News

By Robert Preidt, HealthDay Reporter

(HealthDay)

TUESDAY, Oct. 6, 2020 (HealthDay News) — This Halloween may be especially challenging for parents of children with asthma and allergies, as they also have to guard against COVID-19.

“Every year we send out tips on how to keep your kids with allergies and asthma symptom-free as they celebrate one of their favorite holidays,” said allergist Dr. J. Allen Meadows, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI).

“This year, along with our usual guidance, we want to point people to the [U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] and their recommendations for avoiding COVID-19,” Meadows said in a college news release.

As you plan for the holiday, consider these tips from the ACAAI:

If kids are attending events, outdoor activities are always best. Children must wear a mask and maintain social distance. There are Halloween-themed cloth masks that help protect against COVID-19, so kids should be encouraged to choose a costume that works with a protective mask.

An ordinary costume mask is not a substitute for a mask meant to protect against the coronavirus. The CDC says a costume mask should not be worn over a cloth mask if the costume mask makes it hard to breathe.

Try to have Halloween activities around your home, where you can control the environment and the allergens. For example, you can make sure all treats are allergen-free if your child suffers from a food allergy.

Ideas for at-home fun include pumpkin carving, having a costume parade over Zoom, or a scavenger hunt in the house or yard with family members.

If your child does go trick-or-treating, the CDC recommends a one-way approach where individual goodie bags are lined up for families to grab at the end of a driveway or edge of a yard.

If you’re preparing goodie bags, make sure to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after preparing the bags. If your child goes trick-or-treating, check their bag for any candy that might contain food allergens.

If your child with allergies or asthma is attending a Halloween event or going one-way trick or treating, make sure they have their supplies with them.

Children with asthma should carry their inhaler because kicking up moldy leaves can cause asthma symptoms. If a child has a food allergy, they shouldn’t leave home without their epinephrine auto injector, in case they sneak a treat that contains a possible allergen.

Copyright © 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Is Trick-Or-Treating Allowed In Anne Arundel This Halloween?

ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, MD — Masks used to be reserved for Halloween. Now, they are part of daily wardrobes.

With coronavirus lingering in Anne Arundel County, health officials discourage traditional trick-or-treating. Anybody who believes they have coronavirus or thinks they were exposed to the disease should stay home, the county Department of Health says.

“Unlike Dracula and The Mummy, COVID-19 is real,” Anne Arundel County Health Officer Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman said in a Tuesday press release. “To protect trick-or-treaters and avoid the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses, we must continue to maintain physical distance, wear face coverings, avoid large gatherings and wash hands often.”

Those who choose to go trick-or-treating can reduce, but not eliminate, their risk by traveling only with members of their household, the Department of Health says.

No laws prohibit trick-or-treating in Maryland, but the state requires mask usage in all public places. This includes busy streets on Halloween.

County health officials remind residents that costume masks are not as protective as face coverings. Costumes have breathing holes, which could expose trick-or-treaters to coronavirus.

The Department of Health also warns residents that wearing cloth face coverings underneath costume masks could dangerously limit breathing. Trick-or-treaters shouldn’t share masks, fangs, or similar objects, the department noted.

“I know it will be difficult for children and families to celebrate in a way we aren’t used to, but the health of our communities depends on us doing our part to prevent the spread,” Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman tweeted on Tuesday.

The Department of Health offered additional tips to avoid spreading coronavirus while trick-or-treating.

Halloween Health Tips

  • Bring alcohol-based hand sanitizer when trick or treating.

  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth, as germs can spread that way.

  • Children should not reach into candy bowls or bags. Candy should be given out using a scoop or tongs, so the candy is not directly handled.

  • Consider providing individually wrapped goodie bags on a table at the edge of the driveway or yard. When preparing and handing out treats, be sure to follow proper hand hygiene.

  • Avoid parties and party games like bobbing for apples or other activities that might involve sharing items that have come into contact with other people’s mouths or noses.

  • When returning home with treats, children should wash hands properly with soap and water before eating anything.

Health officials also ranked Halloween festivities by risk, asking residents to avoid the high-risk activities. The department urges celebrators to look into lower-risk options where mask usage is enforced. It also recommends staying at least 6-feet apart at events where screaming may occur.

Here are the Department of Health’s rankings:

High-Risk Activities

Note: Trunk-or-treats are events in parking lots where kids collect candy from parked cars. Trunk-or-treating replicates the door-to-door interactions of traditional trick-or-treating, which also takes place outside. That may make trunk-or-treating comparably risky to trick-or-treating.

Medium Risk

  • Halloween movie night outdoors with local family and friends

  • Outdoor, open-air costume parade or party in small groups

  • Open-air,

Latest Santa Cruz Case Count; County Releases Halloween Guidance

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, CA — Haunted houses, large parties and indoor mazes should be a no-go in the era of the coronavirus, Santa Cruz County officials announced Monday.

And even if your Halloween costume comes with a mask, you should still wear a face mask, officials said in a news release jointly issued by Bay Area health officers. Maybe this year is the one to focus on decorations and virtual costume contests.

The public should keep a close eye out for COVID-19 symptoms after the holiday — especially three to seven days afterward. Anyone who experiences symptoms can learn how to get tested in Santa Cruz County here.

“These holidays are no different than the rest of the year when it comes to reducing the spread of COVID-19,” health officials wrote.

Officials gave guidance on which seasonal activities are lower-risk, moderate-risk, high-risk and very-high risk. Here’s the official word on Halloween and Día de los Muertos traditions, according to the county:

Lower Risk

“Stay home, keep it small.”

  • Carving pumpkins, scavenger hunt trick-or-treat with members of your household

  • Outdoor pumpkin patch visit (while masked and maintaining six feet of distance from others)

  • Carving pumpkins outside with very small group (while masked and maintaining six feet of distance from others)

  • Virtual costume contest

  • Decorating your home

  • Creating in-home ofrendas

  • Preparing traditional recipes and playing music at home to honor loved ones who have died

  • Vehicle-based gatherings, such as drive-through attractions or drive-in movies

Moderate Risk

“If you must.”

  • One-way trick-or-treating, with individually wrapped goodie bags for guests to grab and go at the end of a driveway (while masked and maintaining six feet of distance from others)

  • Small outdoor movie night or costume parade (while masked and maintaining six feet of distance from others)

  • Themed outdoor dining

Higher Risk

“Please avoid.”

  • Traditional trick-or-treating, which brings people from various households together

  • Rural fall festival outside of your community

Very High Risk

“Not permitted by state and local orders.”

  • Crowded parties, whether indoors or outdoors, are linked to many Bay Area COVID-19 cases

  • Sharing, eating, drinking, talking loudly, singing with people outside of your household

  • Haunted houses

  • Indoor mazes

  • Trunk-or-treat, with candy handed out from cars in parking lots

There have been 2,394 cases of the coronavirus reported in Santa Cruz County as of Tuesday morning, including 10 confirmed deaths and 2,082 recovered cases. Here’s the breakdown by location:

  • Aptos: 103

  • Ben Lomond: 18

  • Boulder Creek: 18

  • Capitola: 63

  • Felton: 24

  • Freedom: 128

  • Santa Cruz: 446

  • Scotts Valley: 56

  • Soquel: 63

  • Watsonville: 1,348

  • Under investigation: 103

  • Unincorporated: 24

This article originally appeared on the Santa Cruz Patch

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