As the holidays draw closer, many of us look forward to gathering with family, friends and coworkers. That said, we should not lose sight of the recent surge in COVID-19 cases. There are several ways that we can celebrate holiday traditions and still protect our health. Reminding yourself and your friends, family and coworkers of some simple and effective preventative measures is a great way to ensure a safer and healthier holiday season.
- Vaccination remains one of the best protection methods to help keep yourself and your community healthy. Getting your COVID-19 vaccine and wearing a mask indoors in public in areas of high transmission is the best way to mitigate disease transmission for COVID-19 — and it may also help eliminate transmission of other diseases, like the common cold and seasonal flu.
- Protect those not yet eligible for vaccination, such as young children, by getting yourself vaccinated and encouraging other eligible people around them to become vaccinated.
- Wear well-fitting masks over your nose and mouth if you are in public indoor settings, even if you are fully vaccinated.
- Outside is safer than inside. Avoid crowded, poorly ventilated indoor spaces.
- If you are sick or feeling unwell, don’t host or attend a gathering.
- Get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or if you have had close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
If you are not fully vaccinated and must travel, follow the CDC’s domestic travel or international travel recommendations for unvaccinated people. If you plan to travel in a group that includes unvaccinated individuals, choose safer travel options. Everyone, even those who are fully vaccinated, is required to wear a mask on public transportation and follow international travel recommendations.
- People who have a condition or are taking medications that weaken their immune system may not be fully protected, even if they are vaccinated and have received a booster dose. They should continue to take all precautions recommended for unvaccinated people, including wearing a well-fitted mask, until advised otherwise by their healthcare provider.
- You might choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission if a member of your household has a weakened immune system, is at increased risk for severe disease, or is unvaccinated.
- If you are gathering with a group of people from multiple households or from different parts of the country, you may want to consider additional precautions (like avoiding crowded indoor spaces before travel, taking a COVID-19 test prior to travel) in advance of gathering to further reduce risk.
- Remember: Do not put a mask on children younger than 2 years old.
By working together, we can enjoy safer holidays, travel, and protect our own health, as well as the health of our family, friends and coworkers.
Mercy Urgent Care can help with testing prior to the holidays. We have rapid testing available — and we even offer a cash-only COVID test at our South location. Learn more at mercyurgentcare.org/covid-tests-and-results/.