At today’s COVID-19 press conference, Governor J.B. Pritzker and IDPH director Dr. Ngozi Ezike discussed safety precautions Illinois residents should take as the holiday season approaches.
Dr. Ezike said the safest way to celebrate with those outside your own household is virtually, but admitted that not everyone will adhere to that guideline.
“This virus doesn’t make exceptions for traditions,” Gov. Pritzker said. “[It] isn’t taking a holiday. It only wants to find new hosts.”
Safety Precautions to Take
If your family is gathering in person, Dr. Ezike offered several strategies to mitigate the spread among families.
- In the two weeks leading up to and following a family gathering, try to limit your exposure and consider quarantining yourself.
- Try online shopping for food or gifts, or call a store and ask them if they offer a curbside checkout option. If you have to go to the store, consider going at off-peak times.
- When traveling, observe a six foot gap between you and others at an airport, bus or train station, or gas pump. Always wear a mask when near others and wash your hands frequently.
- If the weather permits, try to keep as many activities outside. If you must be inside, open windows to increase air circulation. Be reasonable with the number of people you can safely host in your home.
- Seat members of the same household together to reduce transmission when masks can’t be worn during meals. Spread out the celebration over multiple rooms.
- Wash your hands and plate everyone’s food for them, rather than serving food buffet-style where the same utensils will be touched by all.
Dr. Ezike added that if you are feeling ill, you should skip the family gathering.
“We all want to be around our family and friends during the holidays,” she said. “But if you are sick, please realize you need to stay home. We don’t want to have our holidays marred by tragedy on the back end.”
Those tips are even more important after Illinois’ COVID-19 metrics have steadily worsened, including in Region 7 and Region 8, Naperville’s two regions. Pritzker said Illinois’ statewide positivity rate is a full percentage point higher this week compared to last.
Neither Naperville region is currently in line to see stricter limitations, but Pritzker said this is a reminder for the whole state to not let up now before things get worse.
More information on holiday safety and the current metrics in Illinois can be found on the IDPH website.
Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.
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