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Holidays, COVID
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Washington DOH: We need to act now to get COVID under control for holidays

Holiday gatherings may take on a different look in 2020. (Pexels)

With COVID-19 transmission continuing to rise across Washington, officials are warning residents to adhere to public health guidelines to avoid “increased risk” during the holidays.

If you must travel for the holidays, ‘be informed of the risks involved’

According to the latest situation report from the state Department of Health, COVID-19 activity is “intensifying across Washington,” demonstrated by increased case counts and hospitalizations.

Cases in Western Washington have actually been on the rise since mid-September, a trend that has been “particularly pronounced” in King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties.

If that trend continues, families could very well be at a heightened risk of contracting the virus as they gather for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

“Any spike in COVID-19 cases will jeopardize our progress toward reopening schools, strain our healthcare system and increase risks during holiday gatherings,” Deputy Secretary of Health Lacy Fehrenbach said in a recent news release. “High rates in the community increase the chance that someone at your gathering — even people you know well and trust — could have COVID-19.”

That’s backed up by UW Virology head Dr. Keith Jerome, who is advising against large-scale holiday gatherings altogether.

“Everything here is kind of a numbers game, and every additional person around that table adds risk to you, [and] it adds risk to them,” he told KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross.

UW Virology head on danger of large holiday gatherings this year

In the days leading into the holidays, Washingtonians are urged to continue wearing masks in public at all times, avoiding contact with large groups of people, washing your hands frequently, getting your flu shot as soon as possible, and staying home when you’re feeling ill.

“If we act now, we can get these increases in control in time for the holidays,” Fehrenbach said.

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