Healthy tips for a safe holiday season

New cases of COVID-19 are still spiking in the Baton Rouge region with Thanksgiving only a week away, so taking proper precautions are crucial to keep your family safe through the Christmas season.

More than 1,000 new cases were appearing daily in Louisiana as well as 10 deaths, recent state Department of Health figures show. Through the first two weeks of November, a total of 190,000 Louisianans have tested positive for the coronavirus, and more than 5,800 have died from it.

The holidays bring increased risk for infection spread. Thanksgiving meals where guests from multiple households can allow rapid spread of infection. Also, shopping malls packed with Christmas shoppers and airports busy with travelers are ideal environments for the virus to spread.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises staying home as much as possible and avoiding large indoor gatherings. Anytime people are in close extended contact with others not in their household raises infection risk. Traveling long distances also raises your risk of infection, including busy airports and bus stations and long car rides with frequent stops.

But if you plan to travel or go Christmas shopping, following these tips will help you minimize your risk of infection:

Mask up, wash up and back up.

• Wear a face covering or mask in public places

• Wash or disinfect your hands frequently and thoroughly, using hand sanitizer that’s at least 60% alcohol

• Stay 6 feet away from people who don’t live in your household

Take extra precautions while traveling.

• Wear a mask at all times

• Wash or sanitize your hands frequently and thoroughly

• Keep your distance

• Minimize contact with others during stops on long drives

Adjust how you gather for Thanksgiving and Christmas

• Plan for smaller gatherings with friends or family who live near you and have been following safe practices.

• Consider cooking and delivering a meal to a neighbor or friend who may be alone

• Plan a virtual holiday and eat all together via video app such as Zoom

Shop safer

• Plan ahead to avoid crowds, especially so-called Black Friday

• Shop online when possible

• Think about gifts in a different way—can you give experiences or other consumables that don’t have to be purchased in a store?

Click the following links for detailed guidance about:

Safe holiday travel 

Social activities

Holiday celebrations