Holidays usually mean gathering with friends and extended family, attending parties, hosting dinners, traveling, and celebrating time-honored customs. But some holiday activities promote congregating and mixing of households, which increase the risk of transmitting COVID-19.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 1 million COVID-19 cases were reported in the United States in the last 7 days. “COVID-19 is not over. We have been living with the virus for months and are experiencing another surge of cases at all levels — county, state and nation,” said Dr. Clayton Chau, County Health Officer and Director of the OC Health Care Agency. “As the pandemic continues, we can’t let fatigue fool us into dropping precautions to prevent the spread and stop the surge. The safest way to protect yourself, the community, and our health care system this Thanksgiving is to celebrate at home with the people you live with.”
To reduce your risk this holiday season, residents are encouraged to follow guidance from the California Department of Public Health and plan smaller, shorter, safer celebrations:
- Wear a mask in public settings, like on public and mass transportation, at events and gatherings, shopping and in stores, and anywhere you will be around people who do not live with you.
- Wear a mask not only with people you do not know, but with anyone you don’t live with including close friends and family.
- Keep your distance – especially from older family members and those with chronic health conditions.
- When indoors, keep windows and doors open so fresh air circulates and wear a mask.
- Use all the space you can indoors; spread things out.
- Don’t share utensils or drinks with anyone.
- Commit to keeping gatherings short, whether inside or outside. Shorter is safer.
- People at higher risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19 (such as older adults and people with chronic medical conditions) are strongly urged not to attend any gatherings, especially indoor gatherings. If you gather with older people or those with chronic conditions, make sure they wear a surgical or N95 mask.
- It is safest to celebrate the holidays with the people who already live with you, but if you invite others, only invite a maximum of two other households to your gathering.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home if you are sick.
To learn more, please visit ochealthinfo.com/covidholidaysafety
This article was released by the OC Health Care Agency.