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Utah Releases Suggestions To Keep COVID Spread Low During Holidays

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Health care officials in Utah have pleaded with the state’s residents to take precautions seriously during the pandemic in order to keep hospitals from being overwhelmed.

As Utahns are preparing to get together with family and friends for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve, the potential for further spread is of particular concern.

“If the number of Christmas lights I’ve seen already on display is any indication, many of us are looking forward to the holidays even more than we normally do,” Gov. Gary Herbert said during a Thursday morning press conference.

He said he wants Utahns to have a happy and safe holiday season, and he encouraged residents to have the safest holiday possible by celebrating with only those in their immediate households.

However, for those who still plan on getting together with friends and family outside their immediate households, the state is suggesting they “Be creative about how to do traditions a little different this year.”

Utah’s Safe Holiday Suggestions

The Utah Department of Health released a list of suggestions to help minimize the rate of new infections as we head into the holidays.

“The safest gatherings, like hosting family dinners or birthday parties, are with those that live in your same household. Let’s keep it real close to home and stay safe!” according to UDOH. “Speaking of home, bringing anyone into your home who doesn’t already live there increases the risk of spreading COVID-19. If you choose to have a gathering, make sure you stay mindful of how to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.”

Health officials advised against hosting or attending gatherings for anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19 or is sick, is waiting for COVID-19 test results, has tested positive for COVID-19 and should be in isolation, has been exposed to the virus and should be in quarantine, or who is at high risk for severe illness or lives with someone who is high risk.

For everyone else, health officials reiterated that wearing masks and physically distancing are key when it comes to holiday gatherings.

Authorities suggested making it easier by paring down the guest list this year.

Everyone should be wearing masks when indoors while they’re not actively eating or drinking, according to the department of health, and guests should stay 6 feet apart.

And if it’s not too cold, have that holiday meal outdoors.

“If the weather won’t chill you … then maybe consider having your holiday gathering outside,” according to UDOH. “Indoor gatherings can be risky, so remember to physical distance and masks should be worn inside AND outside! You can also improve ventilation by opening up windows.”

Other suggestions include keeping social gatherings “short and sweet” and avoiding touching other people and surfaces.

And, of course, one of the most crucial practices that everyone should be doing whether getting together for the holidays or not is to wash hands often – especially right after arriving at someone’s home and also right before eating.

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