Local Health Experts Offer Guidance For Holiday Gatherings

Nov 25, 2020

COVID-19 cases are on the rise and states have implemented migration measures to slow the spread of the virus.

Health experts are recommending that everyone should get a flu shot two weeks before visiting friends and family during the holidays.

Jackson County Health Department COVID Section Chief Paula Clark says planning gatherings will take a little extra work this year.

“I think when people are making their plans for the holidays, we need to keep quite a few things in mind we’re at our highest level ever of infection and we want everybody to enjoy their family, we know there’s a lot of exhaustion with the virus right now, but to enjoy their families and keep a lot of things in mind to stay safe.”

Before traveling take a minute to examine your health before making any commitments.

“If people are having any kind of symptoms that you stay home, and we here so much that people just thought it was allergy’s, it really windy right now, there’s a lot of stuff in the air and people assuming its allergy’s, we can’t at this time during this pandemic our brains go right to allergy’s, our brains need to be thinking this could be COVID and I don’t want to infect other people, family members.”

Clark says the Illinois Department of Public Health has safety tips designed to reduce the chances of transmitting the virus in small get-togethers.

“I think we need to think about traveling, know if you’re traveling public or private transportation, if it can be private transportation that’s going to be safer, always wear a mask whether you’re in a car with people and or if its public transportation to try to practice social distancing."

When you arrive at your destination, try not to expect the usual greeting.

“We’re used to greeting people with a hug and we really need to, you know I know it’s really hard to change that behavior and we all are getting kind of exhausted with the pandemic but it is more important now than ever to greet people from afar with a smile, with an elbow, have a mask on and just try to distance, even if somebody isn’t sick, they could be positive and be a symptomatic and still be able to spread the virus.”

COVID-19 can last on surfaces anywhere from a few hours to a few days depending on the surface.

“It’s a good idea to put out Clorox wipes let’s say in a bath room and maybe a roll of paper towels so they can dry their hands with paper towels, but ask each person when they leave the restroom to use that Clorox wipe to wipe off the handles on the facet, to wipe off the doorknob, all of those touch points that could be transferring, so that would be a great idea.”

Other helpful tips are to gather outdoors if the weather is nice, if your inside open widows to add ventilation.

“We don’t want anyone to have to postpone Thanksgiving, it’s a very important holiday, but we do need people just to be really mindful of this as the infection is the highest it’s been in the county.”