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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Thursday June 20th 2024

Tips from a COVID-19 Case Investigator


 How to gather together indoors

As we spend more time indoors, it”™s important to keep in mind all of the ways we can reduce risk of spreading COVID-19 and still spend time with family and friends. Unfortunately, smaller social gatherings are a very common way that coronavirus spreads. Numbers are rising and the virus is much more widespread across Minnesota and our neighboring states. This means that we are going to have to work together 

to make sure the upcoming winter holiday season doesn”™t make things worse. Here are some things to think about when you are planning for the holidays: 

Communicate expectations beforehand: Make sure everyone attending has agreed to take the same precautions like wearing masks indoors, staying home when sick, and limiting activities for a few weeks before and after the gathering. 

Plan ahead for preventative measures: If you”™re hosting, make sure to have extra masks, hand sanitizer, and supplies for handwashing. Have furniture already spaced. Get single use utensils or encourage people to bring their own. 

Keep a list: Write down who was at the gathering, just in case someone gets COVID. This will be helpful if you are contacted by the health department. 

Outdoors is better than indoors: How could you adjust traditions to make them outdoor activities? If you are meeting indoors, think about how to avoid crowding and improve ventilation. Is there enough space indoors for everyone to easily socially distance? Can you open some windows or doors to improve ventilation? 

Smaller is better than bigger: Try to limit indoor gatherings to ten or fewer people. The more people attending means the higher the risk, especially if guests are coming from out of town. You should not be attending gatherings if you have been told to isolate or quarantine, have symptoms of COVID-19 or are at high risk of serious illness. 

Be prepared to cancel: If anyone in a household is feeling unwell, that whole household should send their regrets. This goes for the host household too. Did you plan for an outdoor event but the weather didn”™t cooperate? It is safer to reschedule. Arrive and realize you”™re not comfortable with the precautions being taken? I give you permission to gracefully leave. 

Be thoughtful about food: Many of our upcoming holidays center around food, but sharing a meal indoors is a high-risk activity. This is because we have to take our masks off to eat. The least risky option is to have a virtual shared meal. Another lower risk option is to meet in-person but skip the meal. If you are going to share a meal in-person, eat outside if the weather allows. Set up several tables so that everyone is able to distance while eating. Consider having each household group bring their own food, dishes and utensils, and sit at their own tables. And when you”™re done eating, masks go back on. 

Don”™t forget the basics: We don”™t get to take a holiday from wearing a mask, social distancing (this means no hugs!), handwashing, and staying home if sick or at high risk of serious illness. 

Read more: holidays.html coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html 

Lindsey lives in East Phillips and has been working a reassignment as a COVID-19 Case Investigator for local public health. She never thought she would still be doing this in November 

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