Give Thanks by Protecting Your Loved Ones
Posted on 11/10/2020

There’s no better way to give thanks, then to protect your loved ones

Traditionally, we have multiple celebrations through November and December. We look forward to hosting or visiting several Thanksgiving celebrations. December usually brings holiday parties with co-workers, classmates, family and friends. We find comfort in the music, the decorations, the warm fires, the cocoa, the chill in the air and the ambiance of our city decorated in lights. We are no different than most communities across America in our love of gathering, laughing and sharing meals with those who make us happy.

We have all been trying to get through this year with as much normalcy as possible. We have sacrificed birthday parties, graduations, sports tournaments, sleepovers, date nights and many of the other social activities that bring us joy. Weddings have been postponed. Memorials have been limited to small groups. And we long for human touch.

We’re tired of feeling like we are alone. Isolated. Unable to do what we want out of fear or the requirement to distance because a virus, that many people survive, threatens to disrupt our lives. It feels easier to just stop trying, take the risks, get back to what makes us happy and pretend this isn’t happening.

But unfortunately, COVID Is not done with us.

Complacency is leading to a rise in cases, putting people at risk. In the last few weeks, we are seeing a troubling trend. COVID-19 infection rates are not only increasing, but at a concerning rate. Here is how we try to stop spread:

  • Businesses are required to report when two more of their employees test positive and should have a COVID safety plan in place to address outbreaks.
  • For large outbreaks, we assist businesses in helping to stop current spread and reduce chance of future transmission.
  • Most businesses are doing well with stopping spread once COVID comes into their facility; however, social gatherings are harder to investigate. Contact tracing is the key!
  • Our contact tracers try to reach all individuals who test positive. The goal is to identify 1) needs to safely isolate and 2) close contacts so those individuals can quarantine and test, if needed.
  • We also investigate cases. When we see trends in time and location, cases begin to link. This is how we are able to determine clusters and outbreaks – and reach out to close contacts so they can quarantine/test.
  • Unfortunately, many individuals who have contracted the virus through social situations do not want to identify close contacts or event hosts. There is a misbelief those individuals are going to be reported, fined or shared to media. This is not the case! We want to know who has been where so those people can quarantine, slowing spread, and preserving our health care capacity.
    • Lately, we are seeing rising cases due to elite and club sports tournaments, gatherings around holidays (Halloween), and other social events like weddings and funeral receptions.
    • These related cases are largely due to people feeling comfortable around family and friends and not distancing or masking around those they trust. We need to remember, COVID loves excuses and those we love and trust could be carrying the virus and not know.

We can get our numbers back down! Here is how you can help:

  • Learn about virus spread risk at holiday gatherings and how to gather more safely
  • Learn the level of risk of your holiday gathering
  • Keep gatherings within your core 5 or, preferably, not at all
  • Stay home if you are ill and do not let ill people in your home
  • Consider having your core 5 test beforehand, but remember the test only indicates your COVID status on the day you tested
  • Quarantine before and after. Do not socialize with anyone outside your core 5 in the two weeks prior to the gathering day and the two weeks after.
  • Think about others – have you been involved in any high risk activities prior to the gathering? If so, politely decline so you are putting others at risk for your choices.
  • Have a COVID plan in place for the gathering and make sure everyone is on the same page
  • Cooperate with contact tracers if and when the time arrives
    • Nobody is going to condemn, shame or turn in a host
    • If you are positive, other attendees will be notified they may be a close contact, but your identity will not be given

Fewer. Shorter. Smaller. SAFER. When we protect others, we preserve our health care system for those who need it and reduce risk of hospital surges and possible deaths.