All of us at NAP hope you are looking forward to a joyful holiday season this year. We feel so fortunate for the advances we have made in the pandemic with the availability of vaccines down to age 5, booster vaccines for 16+, and much more widespread access to testing. Of course, we still recommend using thoughtful caution in planning any social gatherings that include people from outside of your household. The following are options to consider that could help you have safer holiday get togethers:
- Get vaccinated, and boosted, if eligible
- Limit the number of different households that gather at one time
- Wear masks indoors when not actively eating or drinking, especially if with people who are high risk or unvaccinated
- Do not attend or host gatherings if you are having any symptoms of a COVID-like illness
- Get tested before gathering and ask all other members of the group to do the same. PCR tests take around 1-3 days to return, or rapid at-home tests can be a good option. They are even more accurate if two tests are done > 24 hours apart
- Limit other non-essential activities in the days leading up to gathering, if possible
- Gather outdoors or in a ventilated space, weather permitting
Each family will likely need to decide which of these options makes sense for their individual situation and level of risk tolerance.
As a reminder, if someone is diagnosed with COVID-19 they should isolate for 10 days following the start of symptoms or positive test. After this time period they can resume normal activities and are not considered infectious. They do not need a negative test to be released from isolation. This will be important to keep in mind as we are seeing more COVID cases in the area and maybe even within your family units, which could impact your plans to gather.
For more detailed guidance from the CDC on safer ways to spend the holidays, see this link: CDC Coronavirus
Happy Holidays to all of you, we wish you a restful and safe rest of 2021!
Northampton Area Pediatrics