Preventing COVID-19 During the Holidays

Preventing COVID-19 During the Holidays

Make a Plan This Holiday Season

The holiday season is here, but this year things will look and feel different because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether you are celebrating at home or traveling, it’s important to make a plan so you stay safe.

Remember the Standard Guidelines
We’ve been living through this pandemic for a while, but this is a perfect time to return to the basics. There are some CDC guidelines to stay safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Only socialize with people in your home or in your “bubble
  • Quarantine for 10 to 14 days if you feel sick, have been exposed to COVID-19, or test positive for COVID-19
  • Wear a mask when in public
  • Keep a physical distance of 6 feet or more with others
  • Wash hands frequently for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content

If you are planning on seeing people outside of your bubble you can still help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Read on to learn about risks and safety measures for travel and gatherings.

Travel
If you’re considering traveling this winter season, here are some things to think about before you leave:

  • Decide how you’re getting there. Driving, flying or public transportation all pose different risks. The main thing is to know that the longer you’re in public, the higher your risk of getting COVID-19. That means that an airport security line will likely be higher risk than a stop at a gas station.
  • Look into how high COVID rates are at your destination. If is not recommended to visit places with high COVID rates. You can view total and new cases per state here. Many places also have restrictions on out-of-state visitors. You can check local health department rules here.
  • Be prepared. Wear a mask the entire time you’re in public, and make sure you have plenty of hand sanitizer.

Gatherings
Not all social gatherings have the same risk. If you plan on attending holiday events, here are some ways you can keep them safer:

  • Indoor vs. outdoor. Outdoor events are safer than indoor ones. If you do see people inside, try opening windows and doors to keep the space ventilated.
  • Less people means less risk. Try to keep gatherings small.
  • Guest behavior. Have the people at the event been following prevention guidelines before gathering? Are they coming from places with high rates? Consider asking people to quarantine for 14 days before gathering. It’s perfectly OK to be open about your comfort level and say no to gatherings you’re not comfortable with.
  • Follow prevention guidelines at the event. While gathering, try to keep your mask on and stay 6 feet apart when possible. Wash hands frequently, and limit contact with commonly touched items.

If we work together, we can reduce the spread of COVID-19. Talk to your friends and family about how to best stay safe this holiday season.

References:

Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. Keep your social circle small – very small!
CDC. COVID Data Tracker
CDC. Holiday Celebrations
CDC. State and Territorial Health Department Websites
CDC. Travel during the COVID-19 Pandemic

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