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Health Officials Urge People to Stay Home and Celebrate Holidays with Immediate Household

Nov 17, 2020 04:29PM ● By Editor
From Cook County Public Health and Human Services - November 17, 2020

This year, Cook County health officials urge all people to take COVID-19 seriously as they plan how to celebrate upcoming holidays.

“The safest way to celebrate holidays like Thanksgiving during the pandemic is by staying home,” said Cook County Public Health Supervisor Grace Grinager. “Any travel or social gathering has the potential to spread COVID-19 at a time when our medical system’s intensive care capacity is incredibly stressed. Traditional indoor meals and get-togethers with family and friends are the type of activities that we see driving the surge in COVID-19 cases, both in the county and across the state." 

The holiday season will need to look different this year, Grinager emphasized. COVID-19 can easily spread from one person to another during traditional holiday activities, including shared meals and family rituals. Utilizing alternative ways to connect, such as letters, phone calls and virtual gatherings, can keep the holiday spirit alive without spreading COVID-19. Other lower-risk activities include decorating one’s living space, shopping online instead of in-person, and preparing food for family and friends – especially those who may be at higher risk – and delivering it to their doorstep.

As you navigate the season, here are some tips to keep you and your family safe:

  • Stay home if you do not feel well or are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19 (CDC: People at Increased Risk). Be sure to stay home if you have been exposed to COVID-19 in the last 14 days or are showing COVID-19 symptoms. If you live with people who are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, your actions and behaviors could affect their level of exposure.
  • Keep gatherings small. Effective Nov 13, there is a 10-person limit for indoor and outdoor gatherings. All social gatherings are limited to members of three households or fewer, including the host: even small gatherings with multiple households carry risk of spreading COVID-19.
  • Hold small gatherings outside, whenever possible. Wear masks and stay six feet away from other guests. Outdoor gatherings are much safer than indoor gatherings, especially when you add mask wearing and distancing
  • Wear a mask indoors and outdoors if gathering with anyone who does not live with you.
  • Encourage guests to bring their own food, drinks and treats. Do not share utensils or drinking cups.
  • Always stay at least six feet away from people who do not live with you.
  • Remember who came to the gathering. Keep a list of invited guests in case one of them contracts COVID-19. This list will be helpful if you're contacted by a health department case interviewer.
  • Stay close to home. Traveling increases the chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others.

Anyone with clinical questions about the COVID-19 virus, including testing if symptomatic, should call the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic at 218-387-2330.

If you have a public health question related to potential exposure to COVID-19, isolation and quarantine recommendations, or testing as a close contact of a person with COVID-19, call Cook County Public Health at 218-387-3605.

People also can visit for the latest information, as well as to find links to trusted information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), World Health Organization (WHO) and more.

Additionally, health officials encourage people to reach out to their own family and social networks to support them in isolation. Cook County Public Health and Human Services, in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Health and Sawtooth Mountain Clinic, will assist persons in isolation and quarantine who need essential services, including food and shelter.

Grace Grinager
[email protected]

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