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November 18, 2021 9:58 PM

Public Health Guidance for a Healthy Thanksgiving and Holiday Season

(November 18, 2021) – The holidays are here and Public Health reminds residents and visitors to use precautionary measures to protect themselves and loved ones against COVID-19 while gathering.

According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), one in 49 Coloradans is estimated to be infected with COVID-19 as the state faces a severe wave of infections expected to rival last winter’s peak case rates.

“The holiday season is an important time to gather, spend time with loved ones, and reunite after many months apart,” said Public Health Director Grace Franklin. “Those who cannot be vaccinated are best protected by surrounding themselves with family and friends that are fully vaccinated. Getting vaccinated, testing in advance of gathering and using our familiar tools are the best methods to protect our loved ones while getting together over the holidays.”

In Colorado, 80 percent of those presently hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated. The COVID vaccines have made recipients 10 times less likely to be hospitalized and 13.4 times less likely to die from COVID. During the holiday season, it is best to pair the protection of a COVID vaccine with other basic safety protocols, especially to protect those who are unvaccinated:

• Get vaccinated. Everybody 5-years-old and up should get a COVID-19 vaccine.
• Get a booster. All Coloradans 18 or older are eligible if it has been at least six months since receiving the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna, or at least two months since receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
• Pod up. Consider significantly reducing the number of close interactions with people not within one’s pod in the weeks leading up to gathering with family and friends.
• Communicate COVID-19 ground rules and the precautionary measures to be taken in advance of welcoming guests to a gathering.
• Get tested. Take advantage of free testing across the county or at-home test kits such as the Abbott BinaxNOW rapid at-home antigen test.
• Opt out. If sick or symptomatic, do not gather with others. An at-risk family member or friend could be infected.

During a gathering, consider taking additional precautionary measures, especially if any attendees are unvaccinated:

• Outdoor gatherings are safer than those indoors. If the weather allows, consider having an outdoor celebration or opening doors and windows to improve ventilation indoors.
• Wash hands before cooking, serving, or eating.
• If people who aren’t vaccinated are in attendance or if seeking extra protection, wear a mask and stay distanced.

If choosing to travel or gather with larger groups over the holidays, there are a few things to do upon return to protect roommates, neighbors, and the community:

• Get tested. Remember, the best time to test is five to seven days after the last potential exposure or at symptom onset.
• Limit interactions. Consider reducing in-person contact with others after traveling or attending a gathering until a negative COVID test result is received after at least five days.
• Monitor for symptoms. For the next 14 days after the last potential exposure, it’s important to pay special attention to potential symptoms.

To be considered fully vaccinated by the following holidays, people should get their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by the following dates:

• Christmas (December 25): Moderna by November 13, Pfizer by November 20, Johnson & Johnson by December 11
• New Year’s Eve (December 31): Moderna by November 19, Pfizer by November 26, Johsnon & Johnson by December 17

Public Health has confirmed forty-eight new positive cases of COVID-19 from test results received from November 12 through 18. Of these cases, one is a nonresident, 39 are confirmed as east end residents while six are confirmed as west end residents, two with residency unknown. As of release time today, there are 40 active local cases, all actively contagious cases are currently in isolation. There have been 1,277 total COVID cases among residents including 172 total breakthrough cases, one current hospitalization and five COVID-related deaths. To learn more about the county’s current COVID-19 metrics, please visit the SMC COVID-19 dashboard.

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