NEW JERSEY – With COVID-19 counts rising, medical professionals are concerned that holidays are going to make cases spike even more.
That’s why they’ve been putting out tips on how to celebrate holidays safely, something more important than ever this year.
The usual trappings of the holidays are so common we might not even realize it. Kissing hello, picking finger food from an appetizer platter, watching a game or holiday movie on the couch…these might all be dangerous this time around, especially if guests are older or have underlying health conditions.
“It might not feel like the holidays to you unless all of your closest relatives are gathered around your dining room table,” said Dr. Bradley Pulver, Medical Director of Emergency Medicine for Ocean Medical Center. “However, health experts recommend celebrating differently this year as the coronavirus pandemic reaches record levels in many parts of the country.”
Doctors have been telling the public to keep celebrations small. Don’t celebrate with people outside your household. And if they are outside your household, that they have been people who have been self-quarantining for 14 days beforehand.
Any long travel, using public transportation, or even stopping at a rest stop, would negate the quarantine.
Do not host or participate in any gatherings if you or anyone in your home:
- Has tested positive for COVID-19 and has not completed self-isolation
- Has symptoms of COVID-19
- Has taken a COVID-19 test and is awaiting results
- May have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 within the last 14 days
- Is at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19
If you’re attending an indoor holiday gathering in a home that’s outside of your bubble (people who you interact with frequently):
- avoid greeting anyone with physical contact (hugs, kisses, etc.)
- wear a mask, except when you’re eating
- wash your hands often
- stay 6 feet apart from people in other households at all times, even at mealtime
- don’t drink alcohol, so that you’ll have the right mindset to make safe decisions about COVID-19
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that celebrating virtually or with members of your own household (who are consistently taking measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19) poses the lowest risk for spread of the illness. In this case, a college student home for the holidays should be considered part of a different household. People outside your household have different factors to take into consideration:
- Community levels of COVID-19
- Exposure during travel
- Location of gathering
- Duration of gathering
- Number and crowding of people at gathering
- Behaviors of people prior to gathering
- Behaviors of people during gathering