For Immediate Release
Phone: 980-432-1800Website: www.rowancountync.gov/covid-19Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rowan County Case Information: https://bit.ly/rowan-covid19-hub
Nationwide, daily COVID-19 cases continue to be at an all-time high. In Rowan County in the past week, we have had 899 positive COVID cases reported.
With the continue surge in cases, public health officials highly urge people to limit their travel and any indoor gatherings for the upcoming holidays. This year, unfortunately, it’s just safer to just celebrate with your immediate household than with those who you traditionally celebrate with.
But if you are planning to gather with your family for the holidays; and trying to do so in a lower-risk way, here are some answers to common questions.
WHAT MAKES A HOLIDAY GATHERING SAFE OR RISKY?
Gathering indoors for extended periods of time has consistently proven to be the most common avenue for viral transmission of COVID-19. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services and other health officials advise hosting gatherings outdoors when possible, keeping the guest list to no more than 10 people, as well as wearing a mask, staying six feet apart and washing your hands. Also, guests who are more vulnerable to COVID-19 should consider attending gatherings virtually and not in person.
SHOULD I GET TESTED BEFORE SEEING FAMILY? IS THAT ENOUGH?
If you’re planning on traveling or gathering with family, the state recommends getting a test three to four days ahead of time, said Dr. Mandy Cohen, Secretary of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
But tests can miss some infections, and a negative test only gives information for that point in time, Cohen adds.
“Even if you have a negative test it’s not a free pass,” Cohen shared.
Even if all family members test negative, people should still take other precautions to make gatherings low risk. Currently, it is taking between two to three days to get your test results back, so please make sure you plan accordingly.
HOW ELSE SHOULD I PREPARE FOR GATHERING WITH FAMILY?
Remind guests to stay home if they have been exposed to COVID-19 in the last 14 days. All guests should screen for symptoms the day before the event and stay home if they’re not feeling well.
HOW CAN I PREPARE FOR HOSTING VISITORS?
Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces like door handles, sink handles, and bathroom surfaces before guests arrive and during the event. If you can’t have your gathering outside, make sure the room is well ventilated by opening windows and doors.
Arrange tables and chairs to allow people from different households to be 6 feet apart. Limit the number of people going in and out of the areas where food is being prepared. Even better, only allow one person to serve everyone. That way you are reducing of transmission by everyone touching common items such as serving spoons, salad dressing bottles, etc.
HOW CAN I TALK ABOUT COVID-19 SAFETY WITH FAMILY MEMBERS WHO MIGHT BE LESS CONCERNED?
Crystal Schiller, professor of psychiatry at UNC School of Medicine, suggests a four-step approach to talking about COVID-19 safety with family members.
IN SUMMARY, IF YOU SHOULD CHOOSE TO CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS WITH PEOPLE OUTSIDE YOUR IMMEDIATE HOUSEHOLD:
Do it in a safe way by practicing the 3Ws and requiring everyone to wear their mask at all times, keep your gathering and group to no more than 10 people, host your celebration outside, and consider getting tested no later than Monday, December 21, 2020.*Please note that due to Christmas, many of our community’s testing sites will be closed. Please visit our weekly schedule for more information, which is updated each Sunday for the following week.
Download Media Release COVID-19 - December 18, 2020 (PDF)