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Tips for a Safe Family Gathering this Fourth of July

STAFF REPORT

Taking Safety Precautions Will Help Protect Your Health Against the Coronavirus

 If you’re planning to host a Fourth of July family gathering, it’s important to continue taking precautions to protect yourself and your loved ones against the coronavirus.

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the Southland, families may be tempted to let their guard down as they gather to enjoy a barbeque and social interaction. However, that would be a mistake, because the coronavirus still poses a significant threat to our health and we need to protect ourselves, according to health officials.

“There are some simple, but important steps we can take to help protect our health while still enjoying ourselves as we celebrate the Fourth-of-July with our families,” said Dr. Daisy Dodd, an infectious disease physician with Kaiser Permanente Southern California. “However, going about it as if there’s no need for concern is not a wise decision, and it could create a health risk to yourself and others!”

If you plan to host a get-together, Dr. Dodd recommends limiting the number of guests. In general, keep the gathering to no more than 10 people, she said. Also, if you invite family members who are above the age of 60, she stressed the importance of taking extra precautions, including wearing masks and observing physical distancing of at least six feet.

It’s also important to require all guests, including children over 2 years-old, to wear a face covering when not eating or drinking.

Remind guests that if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, or have been recently exposed, they should not attend, Dr. Dodd stressed. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these symptoms include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting and diarrhea.

“If a family member is sick, even if they have very mild symptoms or just feeling ‘under the weather,’ they should stay home since they may have COVID-19 or other germs that pose a threat to your health,” said Dr. Dodd, who practices at Kaiser Permanente Orange County. “Additionally, it’s important to vet your guests. If you do invite guests, make sure they intend to follow safety precautions.”

Dr. Dodd discouraged holding in-home gatherings, and instead recommended spending time outside where there’s more open space. Establish separate dining spaces for your household and for your guest family, and use single-use (disposable) utensils, plates and cups. Also, keep hand sanitizer and paper towels around to frequently clean your hands and disinfect surfaces.

“We all want to enjoy our families during this holiday, and we can do so in a way that is both fun and safe by taking precautions that better protect our health – and the health of others – during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Dr. Dodd said.

If you are planning to host a Fourth of July gathering:

  • Avoid inside home gatherings. Host it outside and keep it small.
  • Share your list of safety precautions with your guests and ensure they intend to follow them.
  • Maintain a 6-foot distance from those outside of your household.
  • Require all guests, including children over 2 years old, to wear a face covering when not eating or drinking.
  • Make sure soap, water and hand sanitizer are readily available for handwashing
  • With the exception of grilled items, bring your own food and drinks to gatherings.
  • Use single-use (disposable) utensils, plates, cups, etc., and throw away your own garbage.
  • Establish separate dining spaces for your household and for your guest family.
  • Avoid contact sports, but swimming is OK as long as distance is maintained.
  • Remind guests that if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or been recently exposed, they should not attend.
  • Be sure to follow the guidance set by your county Public Health Department.

 

Source: Kaiser Permanente

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