As we approach the winter holiday season, across the United States, COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths continue to rise. All of us at Swope Health encourage you to focus on precautions to celebrate safely.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the safest way to celebrate this holiday season is to stay at home with the people you live with. “Travel and gatherings with family and friends who do not live with you can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu,” the CDC says.
Meals and gatherings are especially important at the holidays, but this year, the CDC encourages some new precautions:
- Bring your own food and utensils.
- Avoid sharing food or being around food preparation. No gathering in the kitchen.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items.
- Have a space for handwashing and provide plenty of hand sanitizer.
- Consider having a virtual gathering, like a Zoom dinner. You can open gifts virtually, share a meal, prepare crafts or decorate, play games or even hold a dance party using a virtual meeting space.
Here are a couple of flyers you can print out and share with your family as you make your holiday plans.
We encourage you to stay home this holiday season and not have in-person gatherings with people outside of your household.
If you do celebrate in person with others, keep your gathering smaller and shorter, practice hand washing and sanitizing, mask wearing and safe physical distancing. Some precautions you can take:
- Wear a mask, and remember, two layers are better than one! Make sure it covers your nose and mouth, indoors and outdoors. You can wear a scarf or ski mask over your face mask in cold weather. Especially in cold weather, keep a spare mask at hand in case yours becomes moist from breathing, snow or rain.
- Stay six feet away from others, indoors and outdoors. If you are gathering with family or friends who don’t live with you, keep that same six feet of separation between family pods.
- If you gather with your family, keep it outside if possible. The virus spreads through the air, so ventilation is critically important. If you must be inside, open windows and doors and keep your home’s fans on.
- Keep it short! Gatherings that last longer pose more risk than shorter gatherings.
- Avoid travel. Stay away from large public gatherings, like at airports, train stations, bus stations and public transportation. Even if you drive, you’ll still face potential exposures at rest stops, gas stations and other places you stop.