From The Tribune staff reports
The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) strongly urges caution during the holiday season, as the state continues to have significant community spread of COVID-19.
Public health experts say gathering with family and friends who live outside one’s own household can increase the chances of developing or transmitting the virus.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), high or increasing levels of COVID-19 cases in the gathering location, as well as in the areas where attendees are coming from, increase the risk of infection and spread among attendees. Alabama is currently experiencing high numbers of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
“While we are pleased vaccine products have been authorized for emergency use, not nearly enough vaccine will be available initially, and it will be months before the public at large can be vaccinated,” State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said. “It is important that everyone continue practicing the measures that are effective in preventing transmission of COVID-19, including social distancing, mask wearing, hand hygiene, avoiding people who are sick, avoiding crowded, poorly ventilated indoor spaces, and monitoring their own health.”
Holiday travel may increase your chance of spreading and getting COVID-19. While the best way to protect yourself and others this year is to stay at home, the CDC asks you to consider the following questions before making plans:
- Are you, someone in your household, or someone you will be visiting at increased risk for getting very sick from COVID-19?
- Are cases high or increasing in your community or at your destination?
- Are hospitals in your community or at your destination overwhelmed with patients who have COVID-19? To find out, check state and local public health department websites.
- Does your home or destination have requirements or restrictions for travelers? Check state and local requirements before you travel.
- During the 14 days before your travel, have you or those you are visiting had close contactwith people they don’t live with?
- Do your plans include traveling by bus, train or airplane, which might make staying six feet apart difficult?
- Are you traveling with people who don’t live with you?
If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” ADPH says to consider making other plans, such as hosting a virtual gathering or delaying travel.