With the holidays approaching, we all want to spend time with family and friends- particularly in light of the extra stressors we have all endured over the year. While unplugging and being with family and friends is important, it also remains vital for staff to protect themselves and minimize the risk of being exposed to persons with COVID-19. This not only helps protect the individual, but our co-workers and patients. Taking extra steps to protect yourself over the holiday season is vital to Denver Health’s ability to care for our patients during the unprecedented increase in COVID-19 activity our community is facing.
The CDC has a comprehensive set of recommendations which can be found here on safety during the holiday season. Denver health also recently issued a separate travel guidance notice here (huddle sheet from 11/11/20).
A few highlights:
- While time spent in an airplane appears to be low risk for SARS-CoV2 transmission; all other facets of travel during the holiday present risks for infection given increased exposure to persons outside of your household.
- The main risks for acquisition of COVID-19 come from prolonged, close (<6 ft) indoor exposure to individuals with COVID-19 in the absence of masks. The risk increases with time and the number of people in a gathering from different households.
- A household represents a group of people that live together and may include family members or roommates. Members of your family you do not live with would be considered in a different household.
- Consider the COVID-19 activity in areas where guests are coming from or you are considering going to. The rates in Denver are among the highest in the Nation currently, thus travelers coming here may be placing themselves at increased risk and if you travel to other areas you may be putting family or friends at increased risk.
- Consider the risks to vulnerable population (elderly or those with medical comorbidity) and how they may be impacted by attending multi-household, indoor gatherings during the holidays.
- Be creative, consider virtual or even outdoor gatherings (weather permitting- and who knows here in Denver!).
We are thankful for the contributions all Denver Health employees have made to care for our patients. and making this a truly wonderful and rewarding place to work. Have a safe holiday season!