With the holiday season upon us, below are some helpful tips from the Cambridge Public Health Department and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health on how to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect yourself and your loved ones.
COVID-19 is still with us. To prevent the spread, remember the basics:
- Wear a mask or face covering.
- Practice physical distancing.
- Wash your hands for 20 seconds.
Take good care of yourself, Cambridge!
As you and your family plan for holiday celebrations, please consider these important pandemic precautions:
- Schedule a flu shot (vaccine). While a flu shot is always recommended, it’s especially important this year. Preventing the spread of flu will limit the need for flu-related medical appointments and hospitalizations, freeing up resources to help people with COVID-19. You can make an appointment for a flu shot with either your healthcare provider or local pharmacy.
- People with or exposed to COVID-19, or who have COVID-19 symptoms, should stay home. They should NOT attend in-person gatherings.
- Holiday travel increases chances of getting and spreading the coronavirus. While it is a difficult and personal decision, staying home and avoiding travel is the best way to protect yourself and others.
- If you do plan to travel, consider the number and rate of COVID-19 cases in the area you intend to visit. If travelling to another state, review that state’s travel orders as well as Massachusetts’ requirements upon returning.
- Indoor gatherings carry more risk than outdoor events. Larger indoor get-togethers are riskier than those with fewer people, and shorter get-togethers are safer than longer ones. You can reduce your risk by limiting indoor gatherings to only people you live with or a small group with whom you are regularly in contact. If guests come over, consider opening windows to improve ventilation, wearing a mask when preparing or serving food, and encouraging everyone to wear masks and practice physical distancing. For more tips, see Mass.gov/news/thanksgiving-during-covid-19.
- People at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, including older adults and people with underlying medical conditions (e.g., heart conditions, COPD, diabetes), should ideally avoid in-person gatherings with people who do not live in their household. If they choose to gather, these individuals should opt for
- Be creative about preserving some of your holiday traditions. Make your favorite family recipes, do a “no-contact delivery” of homemade treats for local family, friends, and/or neighbors,
send gifts and open them together virtually. Decorating your home, participating in religious ceremonies virtually, watching holiday-themed movies at home, sending holiday cards, and hosting a virtual dinner party are other ways to be festive and safe
- Remember to be courteous and patient. Many people are feeling tired and stressed from the ongoing pandemic, but we are all in this together and a little kindness can go a long way.
Avoid These Activities:
- Avoid sharing food and drinks.
- Avoid shaking hands and hugging.
- Wave and verbally greet others instead.
- Avoid singing, dancing, and shouting. These activities increase your chances of being infected with COVID-19 through droplets from exhaled air.
The holiday season can be stressful even without a pandemic. If you are feeling down, share your feelings with a trusted friend or family member. If distress impacts your daily life for several days or weeks, talk to a counselor, doctor, or member of your faith community.