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A total of 160 people have been identified as contacts of those who attended the gathering, he said, calling the gathering a “super-spreader event.” More cases are expected to be discovered with links to the event.
Shahab warned people to make safe plans for Thanksgiving based on public health rules.
“So things like this can snowball very quickly and that’s what we need to avoid as we move forward,” he said.
Premier Scott Moe said he was “disappointed” by the gathering. One infected person likely resulted in all the other cases, he said.
Neither Moe nor Shahab said definitively whether people who organize or attend future gatherings that exceed the 30-person limit will face fines.
“I think people must understand that this is the limit right now,” Shahab said. Other fines and warning letters have been issued for violating health rules, he added.
Later during the news conference, Moe and Shahab were asked about those who oppose wearing masks.
“If you don’t want to wear a mask, that’s fine, but you should stay two metres apart from people,” Moe said.
Shahab acknowledged that masks can be inconvenient, and briefly donned a mask during the news conference. He called masks “an additional layer of protection” and said they can make a difference in indoor public spaces.
Moe later denied he was sending the wrong message on masks by saying it’s fine to reject wearing one. He also acknowledged that everyone, including himself, has “stumbled” on maintaining proper physical distance.