A new online assessment tool is available to let Canadians get a better handle of the personal risks involved with COVID-19 in getting together with family and friends during the holiday season.
Canada's National Institute on Ageing (NIA) has partnered with Ryerson University to create the free risk calculator that can help individuals and families quickly assess their risks from visits with friends and family members. The assessment takes about three minutes.
The new tool, which was created partially with funding from the Government of Canada, surveys the users on such things as their age, their health status, their vaccination status, their personal hygiene habits and how many people are in their social circle.
Once the assessment is completed, the users are given a rating on their potential risk of exposure to COVID-19 along with public health guidance to visit as safely as possible
Although public health restrictions seem less stringent this year, Canadians — especially residents of Northeastern Ontario — are facing an increased risk of infection because of the higher transmissibility of COVID-19 variants, such as Delta.
“Many Canadians were unable to gather in person over the holidays last year,” says NIA executive director, Michael Nicin.
"Many of us are looking forward to spending time with our loved ones in the weeks ahead. COVIDVisitRisk.com, which uses the best available scientific evidence to assign an individual risk level to a gathering, can support Canadians to meet with care and to take the necessary precautions to help keep those they love healthy.”
The NIA said that roughly 78 per cent of Canada’s population has received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine — and with vaccinations happening for children aged five and older — progress is being made in stemming the spread of the virus.
In addition to vaccination, however, vigilance and careful consideration remain critical when visiting, gathering, or meeting with others, said NIA.
"To date, more than 240,000 individuals and families have used COVIDVisitRisk.com to better understand the risks they face at different kinds of get-togethers and it can continue to guide Canadians this holiday season." said Dr. Samir Sinha, NIA Director of Health Policy Research.