With Omicron booming in California, tips for a safe Christmas
Authorities are urging people to take advantage of Christmas gatherings while keeping coronavirus safety in mind.
This means keeping gatherings small, making sure guests are vaccinated, trying to do as much as possible outdoors, and avoiding large crowds, especially indoors.
This is all the more important as cases of COVID-19 have skyrocketed in recent days and the highly transmissible variant of Omicron is becoming dominant.
Los Angeles County reported nearly 10,000 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday. According to the data released by the California Department of Public Health on Thursday, at least three state health systems reported that Omicron appears to account for 50 to 70 percent of new cases.
Small and safe
“We don’t encourage large indoor gatherings at all,” Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said last week. “We still think you’ll be much, much safer – if you need to have a large gathering – to take that gathering outside.”
If indoors, small gatherings are safer than larger ones, and Ferrer urged people to respect the order to wear masks in indoor public places. She suggested that the time for eating and drinking be limited, so there is no situation where people are exposed for hours, increasing the risk of transmission.
“The more people you are surrounded by – and especially if you are in close contact with a lot of different people – the more likely you are to get infected,” Ferrer said. “This will apply whether you are vaccinated or not. ”
People should also think about the risks to their family members if they were infected. Should those who live with people at high risk for serious complications contract COVID-19 “may want to delay for a while the types of activities you do that potentially put you in contact with other people?” infected, ”Ferrer mentioned.
There are other factors to consider.
“The risk is really when you’re in close contact with poor ventilation,” Orange County assistant health worker Dr. Regina Chinsio-Kwong said last week. “Transmission occurs when people are not careful about preventive measures. “
In terms of ventilation, LA County suggested:
- Opening windows and doors
- Turn on a fan and place it near an open window, or if you have a heating and air system, let it run as much as possible
- Operate a portable air purifier to improve air filtration.
COVID-19 testing before and after gatherings can also help.
LA County officials said extended testing, effective Friday, included extended hours of operation at testing sites across the county, “additional dates for the week and weekends,” as well. that more mobile test units sent to “hard-hit areas,” according to the press release.
The county health department is also relaunching a test collection program for vacation homes in which residents can ask a home nasal swab kit and have it delivered by FedEx within two days.
County health officials said demand for testing has increased as residents prepare for the holidays. The county’s test positivity rate reached 9.6%, up from 4.6% on Tuesday, officials said.
“LA County residents do well by getting tested as a precaution before assembling, if they have been exposed and at the first sign of symptoms,” said Dr Christina Ghaly, director of the county health services department. , in a press release. “We will continue to closely monitor testing needs and adjust capacity as needed in the coming weeks.”
Here is information on how to get tested in specific areas:
Testing at sites operated by LA County is free, regardless of immigration status.
“Even if you are fully vaccinated, get tested before or after gatherings or parties… a control program.
here are some Vacation tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the California Department of Public Health:
- Get vaccinated
- Wear well-fitting masks on the nose and mouth if you are in indoor public places and have not been fully vaccinated
- Even those who are fully immunized should wear a mask in indoor public places in communities with substantial to high transmission.
- The exterior is safer than the interior
- Avoid crowded and poorly ventilated spaces
- If you are sick or have symptoms, do not organize or attend a rally
- Testing can give you information about your risk of spreading COVID-19
- Consider using a self-test before joining indoor gatherings with other people outside your household
- When gathering indoors, ventilate well. Open doors and windows, run HVAC systems and install high quality air filters
- Check local conditions. Your county may have more stringent guidelines than the state. Take extra precautions when local levels of virus transmission are high
- Activate CA notification and ask your guests to do the same. CA Notify anonymously informs individuals of a possible exposure.