Spread Joy, Not COVID
It’s the most festive time of the year, and figuring out what holiday feasts and gatherings will look like is challenging, especially during a pandemic. It doesn’t mean celebrations with friends and family can’t happen. It means plans need to be safe and well thought out. We must do our part to spread joy, not COVID, during this holiday season.
COVID-19 cases continue to surge across the nation and here in Louisiana. The Louisiana Department of Health and the Louisiana Hospital Association attribute the increase to people enjoying more social gatherings with families, friends and coworkers.
CHRISTUS Shreveport-Bossier encourages everyone to be familiar with the CDC guidelines found on the website. These are a great resource for mapping out holiday gatherings. From planning the event to preparing a meal, the recommendations are focused on keeping your friends and family safe. Reconsidering holiday traditions and knowing the associated risks are important during this season.
Festive Gatherings – Having dinner or gathering with everyday household members or hosting a virtual party with family and friends is the safest way to celebrate and keep your risk of exposure low. If a gathering is part of the plan, take the party outside. Attending a small holiday gathering outside with family and friends is considered a medium-risk activity. Below are tips to consider when spreading joy and entertaining:
As a Host – Pull out the tablescape, and move tables onto the patio or lawn. Consider setting up under open pop-up style tents and be sure each setting is social-distanced properly. Each family or household present should have a separate table. If celebrating outside isn’t an option, bring in fresh air by opening windows and doors, if possible.
In preparing food and drink, the traditional potluck-style is discouraged. When preparing a spread, be sure to wear a mask while cooking and provide as many single-serve options as possible. If portions of the meal need to be served, designate one person who is masked to handle the task. This is also an opportunity to use disposable plates, cups and cutlery.
As a Guest – Be sure to spread joy and cheer only. Keep on a mask when not actively eating or drinking, and social distance, even in this comfortable setting. Remember to make handwashing and the use of hand sanitizer a priority while attending. Trade those hugs and kisses for an elbow bump or friendly wave at social distance. Don’t hesitate to show up with food and drink for you and yours to enjoy.
For everyone in attendance, it is important to know what to do in case of possible exposure to COVID-19. Find a provider or urgent care clinic and get tested. Be sure to keep track of symptoms, which usually present two to 14 days after exposure, paying close attention to fever over 100.4 °F, cough and shortness of breath. In most cases, patients recover with minor issues from COVID-19 at home, but it is important to understand when the virus is taking a serious turn. Call 9-1-1 or head to the emergency room if these symptoms are present:
• Trouble breathing
• Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
• New confusion
• Inability to wake or stay awake
• Bluish lips or face
It is also important to notify the host and anyone in close contact at the gathering of possible exposure immediately upon testing positive. They may also need to notify others they have had contact with.
However you choose to celebrate, take care of yourself. The holidays are already stressful without factoring in a pandemic. Remember, when you need CHRISTUS Shreveport- Bossier Health System, we are your home for health care.