Health officials issue new holiday guidelines amid surge in COVID-19 cases – Community News

Health officials issue new holiday guidelines amid surge in COVID-19 cases

  • Remember that outside is safer than inside.
  • Avoid crowded, poorly ventilated areas.
  • If you are sick or have symptoms, do not organize or attend a meeting.
  • Get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or are in close contact with someone who has COVID-19. Click here to find a testing location in Minnesota.
  • The CDC still recommends postponing travel until you are fully vaccinated and provides testing recommendations for those planning to travel.
  • Face masks are mandatory on public transport, including buses and planes.
  • If you are gathering with a group of people from multiple households and possibly from different parts of the country, consider some extra precautions prior to collection (e.g. lie still before leaving, avoid crowded indoor areas, get tested) to further reduce the risk. Reduce.

The Thanksgiving holiday falls in the midst of what health officials are calling a “COVID blizzard” in Minnesota, with “alarmingly high cases” and a statewide positivity rate of nearly 10%, which is the state threshold for “high risk.”

The number of hospitalizations from COVID-19 in Minnesota is also the highest they have been all year, according to state data.

“I think people need to be a little more careful approaching this Thanksgiving,” said Dr. Abinash Virk, an infectious disease consultant at Mayo Clinic.

She recommends hosting smaller holiday gatherings, wearing masks around elderly and immunocompromised relatives, and limiting potential pre-holiday exposures by staying calm for the next 10 days.

“We’re on similar numbers to last year and as you know this was kind of the start of our winter wave last year. So how’s this going to go over the next few weeks? Hard to say. I think we’re still concerned that the numbers will increase,” Virk said. “I’m worried because it’s winter. We will be inside more than outside. We know that respiratory viruses like coronavirus and the flu get worse in the winter, so I’m definitely concerned. We’re not out of the woods.”

If you’re planning a vacation, Mayo Clinic has created a map that predicts COVID-19 hotspots. You can search by date, state and province and make travel decisions accordingly.

“It helps to know if there are more cases in that state to make sure you take extra precautions or maybe you don’t,” Virk said. “We’re not asking people not to meet this year, like we did last year, but I think people should be careful about large gatherings.”

5 EYEWITNESS News asked the Minnesota Department of Health if it plans to update its Thanksgiving guidelines given current COVID-19 numbers in Minnesota. A spokesperson gave this statement:

“The recommendations discussed at last week’s briefing and posted on our website will continue to guide us through the coming holiday season. It is critical that the residents of Minnesota take these guidelines to heart and take steps to protect themselves and their families. keep their gatherings safe and secure. With the virus circulating as widespread in our communities as it is and with the Delta variant as transmissible as it is, we are concerned about possible increases in cases when people gather in larger groups, in close quarters contact with each other for extended periods of time, especially if they have not been vaccinated. However, what happens after the holidays depends in large part on what Minnesota residents do during the holidays to limit the spread of the disease.”