Holiday Safety During COVID-19
Now that Halloween is over, many of us have shifted into planning mode for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other seasonal celebrations. Before we host our traditional dinner or make a travel reservation, however, the CDC recommends we use the following risk factors to determine the risk of COVID-19 exposure each activity presents:
Community levels of COVID-19: The higher the level of COVID-19 cases in the community, the greater the risk of infection and spread. Prior to attending an in-person gathering, check the area’s health department website for up-to-date numbers.
Location and duration: Indoor gatherings, particularly those in fully-enclosed, poorly-ventilated, or crowded spaces, pose the highest risk of COVID-19 exposure. Additionally, the CDC notes, “gatherings that last longer pose more risk.” For in-person events, limit the timeframe and select outdoor locations with ample room to distance.
Attendees: The greater the number of individuals at an event, the higher the risk of infection and spread. Consider where attendees are coming from and their current health and safety-related behaviors (e.g., mask wearing). Prior to any in-person gatherings, the CDC says hosts may want to consider “asking all guests to strictly avoid contact with people outside of their households for 14 days.”
According to the CDC, individuals with COVID-19, recent exposures, or at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 should not attend any in-person events this holiday season. The agency also encourages hosts and attendees to get their flu shots, follow proper hygiene protocols and, as always, wear face coverings and limit contact with those outside their households.
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Any scientific or medical information included in this article is current as of the date of publication; however, public health knowledge of COVID-19 is rapidly developing. Readers are advised to monitor national, state and local public health agencies for current recommendations regarding any infectious disease.