The Fulton County health commissioner said Monday that the safest Christmas and New Year celebrations will be those held at home with people who live with you.
Kim Cupp said increases in new positive cases, hospitalizations, and deaths continue (see “Fulton County has state’s 11th highest case rate” on Page 1). She said gatherings with family members and friends who don’t live in your home only increase the chances of contracting or spreading COVID-19.
“The safest way to celebrate the winter holidays is to celebrate at home with people who live with you,” she said.
Cupp said those who forego the suggestion to celebrate only with household members and contract the virus could see symptoms anywhere from 2-14 days after exposure. Their symptoms – which could range from mild to severe – could include fever or chills; cough; shortness of breath or difficulty breathing; fatigue; muscle or body aches; headache; loss of taste or smell; sore throat, congestion or runny nose; nausea or vomiting; and diarrhea.
She said because many people have now experienced first-hand the impact of COVID-19, whether through illness, hospitalization or death, their personal experiences “cause a heightened awareness for the need to take steps to slow the spread and prevent illness. As a result, many are deciding to celebrate small and connect virtually with family and friends.”
It will take time for COVID-19 vaccines now being approved to be widely distributed, and for their benefits to become evident, Cupp said. The vaccines currently being distributed from the Pfizer pharmaceutical company and the Moderna biotechnology company each require two doses administered a few weeks apart.
“In the meantime, all efforts to prevent illness need to continue to slow the spread and prevent additional illness,” she said.
• Remaining six feet away from other individuals;
• Covering mouth and nose with a mask. The virus can still be contracted by airborne transmission when wearing a mask with the nose exposed;
• Washing hands often with soap and water or with hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol when soap and water are unavailable;
• Avoiding crowded indoor spaces and ensuring indoor spaces are properly ventilated by bringing in outdoor air as much as possible. In general, being outdoors and in spaces with good ventilation reduces the risk of exposure to infectious respiratory droplets;
• Staying home and isolating from others when sick;
• Routinely cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, and taking other steps to stop the spread at home.
Cupp also noted that pandemics can be stressful, especially when staying away from others. “During this time, it’s important to maintain social connections and care for your mental health,” she said.
Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.