LCHD officials offer tips for holidays during virus surge

Submitted article

LEE COUNTY – When records are broken, we often celebrate. But when that record often includes the new daily COVID-19 cases being reported across Iowa, that’s cause for concern.
In Lee County we have exceeded more than 1,900 cases of COVID-19 to date, with our positivity rates over the past two weeks showing substantial community spread in southeast Iowa.
As we make plans to celebrate this Thanksgiving holiday, it is not the time to be letting our guard down with protective public health measures such as social distancing, wearing of face coverings when around others outside your own home, and washing hands frequently.
It’s also important to work together in protecting our more vulnerable individuals in the community by slowing the spread and avoiding crowds or gatherings where social distancing is not feasible.
Most people by now probably know someone who has been deeply affected by COVID-19 illness. This has involved our family members, friends, co-workers, with some fighting for their lives or still trying to recover from the lasting effects. Now is the time to avoid high risk activities that spread the virus in order to save lives and protect our public health.
We know that many COVID-19 cases can be asymptomatic or mild, which is a reason to be more cautious, not less. Even if you feel fine, you could pass the virus unknowingly to a more vulnerable individual who might suffer severe symptoms and complications. And while the reports about COVID-19 vaccines that will be coming are promising, we still need to practice recommended public health measures to reduce spread of this virus in our communities.
We all know that quality time with our loved ones is precious, especially time spent with elderly members of the family. However, gatherings during this time put them at high risk when they are already more susceptible to the virus. Across the country we know that large indoor family gatherings can easily become super-spreading events.
This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy this holiday season if you take precautions when celebrating with friends and family.
While it is safest to avoid gatherings, if you do spend time with people from outside your “bubble,” do so wisely. Keep it small, wear masks, and social distance. If you can’t meet outdoors, ensure there is proper ventilation. Avoid buffets and other shared food, and instead designate a single person to serve – while wearing a mask. And stay local, as traveling and including out-of-town guests in gatherings substantially increases the risk of spreading COVID-19 across multiple communities.
Lee County Health Department encourages everyone to practice recommended public health measures to stay safe and healthy over the Thanksgiving holiday and to protect our loved ones.
For more information on staying safe during the holidays please access the following CDC link: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html

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