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home : columns : dave fjeld
December 4, 2020

10/22/2020 9:21:00 AM
COVID and the holidays
This week's column is something of a cop-out because what I'm about to share with you is information taken from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website.
Why am I quoting the CDC? Because this came up recently in our own family. Thanksgiving - and for some of us who hold a combined Thanksgiving/Christmas - is a little more than a month away and while a lot could change in the next month - hopefully for the better, but most likely for the worse - it's time to start thinking about what you're going to do when getting together with family for two of the biggest family gathering dates of the year.
I know I'm still debating exactly what to do and while the CDC has recommendations, they are not laws, especially when it comes to family.
I'm certainly not telling anyone what they should do, nor am I on one side of the fence or the other when it comes to meeting or staying home.
I'm simply offering what the CDC says, noting "these considerations are meant to supplement - not replace - any state or local . . . health and safety laws, rules and regulations with which holiday gatherings must comply":
"Community levels of COVID-19 - Higher levels of COVID-19 cases and community spread in the gathering location, as well as where attendees are coming from, increase the risk of infection and spread among attendees. Family and friends should consider the number and rate of COVID-19 cases in their community and in the community where they plan to celebrate when considering whether to host or attend a holiday celebration. Information on the number of cases in an area can be found on the area's health department website."
The CDC also points out that indoor gatherings are riskier than outdoor gatherings, but in the Upper Midwest, there aren't too many of us who are going to hold an outdoor gathering. Likewise, gatherings that last longer and have more people are, of course, riskier.
Interestingly, the CDC "does not have a limit or recommend a specific number of attendees for gatherings, but should be based on the likelihood of spreading the virus."
Really? Why even make a statement like that when we all know that one person could spread the virus.
The CDC also points out that those "traveling from different places pose a higher risk than gatherings with attendees who live in the same area." However, the CDC doesn't say what the "same area" constitutes.
The CDC also says: "Gatherings with attendees who are not adhering to social distancing (staying at least 6 feet apart), mask wearing, hand washing and other prevention behaviors pose more risk than gatherings with attendees who are engaging in these preventative behaviors."
I'm sorry, but if I'm going to see family, I'm not about to wear a mask or social distance. As I've said in our office, if I've got to wear a mask when I have my coffee break, I simply won't have one. If I've got to wear a mask when I go to see my family, I'd rather not go.
Stay home if . . .
These really go without saying, but the CDC says that people with or exposed to COVID-19 should not host or participate in any in-person festivities if they or anyone in their household:
•  Has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and has not met the criteria for when it is safe to be around others.
•  Has symptoms of COVID-19.
•  Is waiting for COVID-19 viral test results.
•  May have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days.
•  Is at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
If you are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, or live or work with someone at increased risk of severe illness, you should:
•  Avoid in-person gatherings with people who do not live in your household.
•  Avoid larger gatherings and consider attending activities that pose lower risk if you decide to attend an in-person gathering with people who do not live in your household.
Good luck with your decisions.

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