Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and other seasonal observations often involve office parties, family gatherings, neighborhood socializing and other occasions where we gather with people outside of our immediate households. This year must be different. There is a growing consensus among infectious disease professionals that gatherings including people outside of our immediate households are major causes of spreading COVID-19.
In Cathedral City, the seven-day average of new cases declined steadily after the summer surge reaching a low of 2.71 new cases per day on September 18. Since that time, however, our numbers have steadily increased, and today, our seven-day average of new cases is 9.43 per day. That is an increase of 248% in less than two months.
Holiday observations present an opportunity for even further increases. Here are some suggestions to help keep your family safe during the upcoming weeks:
- Always wear face coverings and observe social distancing whenever you are outside of your home and wash your hands frequently. Experts agree these two preventative methods are the most effective for slowing the spread of the virus.
- Plan your meals for the week to limit trips to the grocery store. Riverside County health officials have studied contact tracing data and found that grocery stores appear to be a significant source of spread.
- Support local restaurants by ordering take-out. Order and pay over the phone or on-line, limit the number of people who go to pick up the order and wait outside until your order is ready.
- Limit holiday observations to only your immediate household. This will be hard, but this year, it must be done. We all enjoy festive gatherings including our extended family, neighbors and friends. We risk our own health and the health of those we interact with through such gatherings. For this year give the gift of good health and stay home with your immediate household members only.
- View Christmas displays from your car. If you want to take your children to view holiday decorations and lights do so from your car, with just your immediate household. If you walk to view neighborhood decorations wear face masks and practice social distancing; and please don’t touch or allow your children to touch any of the displays.
- Get tested and cooperate with Contact Tracers. Testing is an important part of getting the virus under control. Only by identifying positive cases and then limiting their exposure to others can we effectively slow the spread. If you are called by Contact Tracers, please answer your phone and cooperate with them. Information they collect is critical to limiting the spread of the virus and your privacy will be protected.
Getting the virus under control is the only way we can get our businesses back open and restore jobs to our economy. This can only happen if we all do our part.