Guidance for family gatherings during the holidays

Coronavirus Local Impact

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – As we approach the holiday season, the CDC is hoping to avoid the massive end-of-year spike in cases and deaths Americans endured last year.

Kids ages 5 to 11 are now able to get the vaccine which is a huge step forward in ending the pandemic.
It’s also a big reason why health experts support family gatherings with one major caveat… vaccination.

As we head into our second holiday season of the coronavirus pandemic, health experts are giving the ‘all clear’ to gather with friends and family. It’s something that wasn’t advised last year because there was no treatment available. Getting vaccinated, keeping a mask handy and social distancing remain at the top of the CDC’s guidance for people wanting to avoid the coronavirus.

One of the reasons experts say it’s safer to gather this holiday season compared to last is because more people are eligible for the vaccine. Especially after the approval of Pfizer’s vaccine for young kids.

“When we gather all together I think we should be transparent to the people who are attending the gathering. We want them to be vaccinated and if they are eligible for the booster they should be boosted.” Dr. Armando Paez, Chief, Infectious Disease Chief, Baystate Medical Center

Cathy Sanders recently received her booster shot and is planning to have a small gathering for the holidays.
Something she didn’t do last year. “We are thrilled we have a booster. We feel much safer. I lost both my parents to COVID a day a part so it’s very important to me that people get their shots, stay safe, wear a mask.”

The CDC said it’s safer for people from different households to get together outdoors than indoors. But if a gathering must take place indoors, the CDC recommends opening windows and doors to increase ventilation.

COVID-19 cases at our hospitals have been fluctuating. Baystate’s cases dropped to around 40 in the beginning of the month. They are now back above 60.

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