In this pandemic era, health precautions and protocols are high recommended as we enter the holidays.
Fifty-one percent of Georgians are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 which means every crowd is a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals and the risk of COVID transmission exists, especially the delta variant which is more contagious and can cause more severe illness than other variants. The state Department of Public Health is closely monitoring COVID case increases in Europe and parts of the United States. Additionally, surveillance in Georgia indicates flu activity is increasing in some areas.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend several ways to enjoy holiday traditions while protecting your health (shared by Public Health).
- The best protection against COVID and the flu is vaccination, and the vaccines can be administered at the same time. People are considered fully vaccinated for COVID two weeks after their second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, or two weeks after the single-dose J&J COVID-19 vaccine. Likewise, it takes about two weeks after getting a flu vaccine for antibodies that protect against flu to develop in the body.
- For young children who aren’t yet eligible for the COVID vaccine, reduce the risk of exposure by making sure the people around them are vaccinated.
- Wear well-fitting masks over your nose and mouth if you are in public indoor settings if you are not fully vaccinated.
- People who are fully vaccinated should wear a mask in public indoor settings in communities with substantial to high transmission.
- Outdoor activities are safer than indoor activities.
- Avoid crowded, poorly ventilated spaces.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water aren’t available.
- If you are sick or have symptoms of COVID-19 or the flu, don’t host or attend a gathering.
- Get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have a close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
- If you are not fully vaccinated for COVID and must travel, follow the CDC’s recommendations.
- Everyone, even people who are fully vaccinated for COVID, is required to wear a mask on public transportation and follow international travel recommendations.
For more information about safely celebrating this holiday season, log on to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays/celebrations.html.
About the flu this season: For the week ending Nov. 13, the state Department of Public Health reported three people were hospitalized with the flu. For the season,which started in early October, seven people have been hospitalized. No deaths or outbreaks have been reported.
- The previous season, October 2020 through May 2021, 38 people were hospitalized in Georgia and three deaths occurred. No outbreaks were reported. It was the mildest in years in Georgia.