As I write this, over 283,000 Americans have died as a result of COVID-19. Since March, many of us have been wearing masks, keeping our distance, washing our hands, and spending a lot of time at home.
Finally, the holidays are here and the world seems a little brighter! The threat of COVID-19 may seem far away as you daydream about celebrating this festive time of year with loved ones and yet the numbers are on the rise.
With an overwhelming amount of information on the internet and social media, we decided to create a simple guide that will help you safely celebrate the holidays in 2020.
HERE ARE 7 TIPS TO SAFELY CELEBRATE THE HOLIDAYS IN 2020
KEEP GATHERINGS SMALL
Fewer people means a lower risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19. Ideally, gatherings consist of individuals who live in the same household. If people from multiple households come together, the gathering should take place outside or in an open air area. Indoor gatherings, especially those with poor ventilation (for example, small enclosed spaces with no outside air), pose more risk than outdoor gatherings.
UNDERSTAND COVID-19 SYMPTOM GUIDELINES
- If you think of know you had COVID-19 and you had symptoms, you can safely be around others after:
- 10 days since symptoms first appeared and
- 24 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
- Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving*
- *Loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation.
- If you tested positive for COVID-19 but had no symptoms:
- If you continue to have no symptoms, you can be with others after 10 days have passed since you had a positive viral test for COVID-19.
- If you develop symptoms after testing positive, follow the guidance above for “I think or know I had COVID-19, and I had symptoms.”
- If you have been around a person with COVID-19:
- Anyone who has had close contact with someone with COVID-19 should stay home for 14 days after their last exposure to that person.
- If you were severely ill with COVID-19 or have a severely weakened immune system (immunocompromised) due to a health condition or medication:
- People who are severely ill with COVID-19 might need to stay home longer than 10 days and up to 20 days after symptoms first appeared.
Most people do not require testing to decide when they can be around others; however, if your healthcare provider recommends testing, they will let you know when you can resume being around others based on your test results.
KEEP FOOD SEPARATE
Even though gathering for the holidays typically means bringing a dish to pass, this year is different. Food and drinks should be kept separate and each household should be responsible for their own. If there is a situation where multiple households are sharing an item, one person who is wearing a mask should be designated to serving all of the food so that multiple people are not handling serving utensils. Limit people going in and out of the areas where food is being prepared or handled, such as in the kitchen or around the grill, if possible.
CREATE A PLAN IF SOMEONE GETS SICK OR STARTS TO SHOW SYMPTOMS
If you or someone that you have interacted with starts showing symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19:
- Immediately separate yourself from other people. An infected person can spread COVID-19 starting 48 hours (or 2 days) before the person has any symptoms or tests positive.
- Contact your doctor to keep them updated and monitor symptoms.
REMEMBER THE BASICS
We tend to feel uninhibited when we are with family and friends, especially during the holidays! But let’s all remember the amount of focus we’ve had for the past 9 months and stay strong!
- Make sure to wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and warm water. Use sand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol when possible.
- Keep your distance. We know you want to hug and we know you want to shake hands and give kisses. Resist the urge! Keep a minimum of a 6-foot distance from any person with whom you do not share a household.
- Wear a mask. Keep a mask on as much as possible, especially if you are unable to keep a 6-foot distance from others. When you remove your mask to eat or drink, be sure to keep it in a safe, dry place to keep it safe for reuse.
- Disinfect common surfaces frequently. This includes counter tops, doorknobs, light switches, tables, faucets, handles, toilets, phones, remote controls, etc.
The safest, and most fool-proof way to keep everyone safe and healthy is to stay home! Make plans to connect with your family and friends over Zoom or FaceTime. Cook together, eat together, or do what my family did and have a gingerbread house decorating contest! *spoiler alert—I WON!
KEEP YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM STRONG
The best offense is a strong defense. So, keep your immune system strong by getting enough sleep, drinking plenty of water, eating nutrient-rich foods, staying active, and paying attention to your mental health. And don’t forget to get some fresh air!
While the 2020 holiday season is different than anything we’ve ever experienced before, it doesn’t mean that we can’t still enjoy the time that we spend with family & friends—in person, or virtually! We hope these 7 tips to safely enjoy the holidays in 2020 help lead you into a healthier 2021.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/communication/holidays.html