The COVID-19 pandemic has been isolating and stressful for everyone worldwide as cases continue to increase rapidly across the United States. This Thanksgiving must look different than all the years past in order to protect yourself and loved ones to enjoy future holiday gatherings. Gathering with friends or family who are not part of your immediate household increases the risk of getting or spreading COVID-19.
This holiday season, consider how you can modify your holiday plans to reduce the spread of COVID-19 to keep your family members, friends and community safer. The safest way to connect during holidays is with a virtual event without traveling outside your local area. If you plan to visit family or friends or host a gathering, keep the following risk levels in mind:
- Lowest Risk: a virtual only event provides the lowest risk of spreading disease
- Increased Risk: a small in-person, outdoor gathering where everyone comes from the same local area and members from different households do not share objects, wear masks and stay 6 feet apart.
- Higher Risk: a medium-size gathering which includes people from outside your local area still adapted to remain 6 feet apart.
- Highest Risk: a larger in-person gathering which includes people from outside your local area and is difficult to remain 6 feet apart
Keep in mind that the risk of spreading COVID-19 during a gathering increases with increased levels of community transmission in the area that the gathering is held. Your state, local, territorial or tribal safety regulations and laws should determine the size of any gathering you attend or any event you plan to host.
CDC Recommendations for Hosting Thanksgiving
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, offers the following recommendations to slow the spread of COVID-19 when hosting small gatherings:
- Check the infection rate in the areas where your guests live and consider an alternate date based on the current status of the pandemic.
- Limit the number of guests to allow members of different households to stay 6 feet apart at all times.
- All guests should avoid direct contact with anyone outside of their household including hugs and handshakes
- Host your gathering outdoors where guests are still required to wear masks if not eating or drinking
- Avoid gathering in poorly ventilated, crowded areas with anyone not from your household
- Open windows and doors to increase ventilation when possible
- Require all guests to wear masks that cover the mouth and nose
- Encourage guests to wash their hands often and have hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol available
- Stock restrooms with enough soap, hand sanitizer and single use towels
- Ask your guests to avoid interacting with people outside of their household for 14 days before attending
- Consider your pets as human family members and do not let people outside of your household to interact with your pets
Traveling During Thanksgiving 2020
Postponing your travel plans and staying home is the best way to stay safe and protect yourself and others this year. Traveling increases your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19 especially if traveling by plane, train or bus where staying 6 feet apart from strangers is not possible. If you are planning to travel over Thanksgiving, first ask yourself these important questions:
- Is anyone in your household, including yourself, or anyone you plan to visit at an increased risk of getting extremely sick from COVID-19?
- Are the cases in your own community or in your destination at a high level or increasing?
- Are the hospitals in your own community or in your destination overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients?
- Do state and local requirements restrict travel in your home or your destination?
- Have you or people you are visiting had close contact with anyone not in the immediate household?
If you answered yes to any of these questions you should reconsider making travel plans. Delaying your travel or hosting a virtual event is the lowest risk option to keep yourself, your friends and family safe.
You can find more tips from the CDC to celebrate the holidays safely including recommendations for hosting a safe gathering, tips for attending gatherings, how to travel safely and cope with holiday stress during the pandemic. These are trying times for everyone and we can certainly understand the desire to see friends and family, we encourage you to conduct holiday visits safely and stay home this year if at all possible.
Greater Waterbury Imaging Center encourages you to follow the guidelines recommended by the CDC to slow the spread of COVID-19. We are taking every precaution in our facility to protect our staff and all patients. Learn more about our safety precautions and contact us for all your MR imaging needs.