Editorial: A Time To Stay Vigilant

Posted: 2020-12-19 15:48:21 By: thebay

This holiday season going to be a quiet affair for many families.

Several people I’ve spoken to will be forgoing their traditional large gatherings with loved ones from across the province and country due to COVID-19. There are even many who live in Muskoka choosing to only celebrate with those in their own home.

While some may say this is ridiculous, I applaud them for making a tough decision. 

It is not easy to do away with years, perhaps even generations, of tradition to stay vigilant in the face of a deadly virus – and the facts indicate that for some people this virus truly is deadly. 

While, I’m not saying you are wrong to spend Christmas with 13 people in your immediate family who all live in the same town; I’m simply offering support to the families who will not being doing so. 

It’s about respect: for yourself, for others, for your community. If your bubble is 13 strong, so be it. 

But remember that there are people out there whose bubbles are smaller or perhaps non-existent because their family lives out of town and they also should have public support. There are also individuals who can’t risk contracting the virus due to weakened immune systems and other health issues.

I strongly recommend those with family members from outside our area – especially coming from hotspots – to weigh all the risks and rewards. I fully understand that this year has been fragile on many people’s mental and emotional health; I know this makes following all the recommendations difficult.

Just make sure to be as safe and responsible as possible, no matter what decision you make. 

I know of some families who have chosen to quarantine before and after the holidays because it’s so important for them to spend time with loved ones who don’t live in the same community. This is the type of responsibility that should also be applauded.

But if you can avoid travel and large groups – especially to and from COVID hotspots – it’s a good idea. 

We’re looking at relative normalcy at some point in early to mid 2021 with vaccinations having begun in countries throughout the world – including ours.

And though I believe the low case numbers in our region mean we shouldn’t be suffering under Red Zone restrictions; I do believe we should remain cautious.

Active cases rose again this week, including and a second death in Muskoka due to COVID occurred (the first one was in the spring). 

We now have 13 active cases in Muskoka as of Friday’s update (six in Huntsville, four in Gravenhurst and 3 in Bracebridge). There is, including two hospitalizations – and at least one of the people in hospital person is nowhere close to being considered elderly.

Although not the mortality and hospitalization rates of those contracting the virus are very low, we should still be cognizant of the fact some people are more affected than others.

Muskoka has managed to keep a firm grip on the spread of COVID since the outset of the pandemic and we deserve kudos for our efforts. 

It would be a real shame in the least, horrific at the worst, if we were to lose that grip because of irresponsible actions over the next two weeks.

So, stay within your community for celebrations if you can. But, if you’re planning to gather, please do so with a vigilant heart and mind.


By Chris Occhiuzzi, for