Local health officials are encouraging people to celebrate the holiday season safely with ourtoor and virtual celebrations to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
Dr. Alicia Garcia, a Kern County provider, shares she is concerned about her family’s safety during the pandemic as she works in a medical office and encounters patients who test positive for COVID-19. This is why she plans on taking extra precautions during this holiday season.
“In my immediate family, we interact with each other normally; however in my family that we will be visiting for Thanksgiving, we maintain a distance,” Garcia said. “My mom is 89 years old and in really good shape; however, because of her age, we do take extra cautions.
Garcia said she stays 12 feet away from her mother, uses disposable plates, uses different bathrooms, and disinfects.
People gatherings that occur outdoors are significantly safer than indoor gatherings. The California Department of Public Health also recommends not attending a gathering if you are feeling sick or you are in a high-risk group.Other precautionary measures for the holiday season is to practice physical distancing and hand hygiene, to wear a face covering, and keep events short – strive for 2 hours or less, according to tThe California Department of Public Health.
Laura Luiz, a Reference Librarian and Associate Professor at Bakersfield College, has a compromised immune system, so she has not seen much of her family outside of Zoom for eight months, which makes this holiday season even harder for her.
“My husband and I usually host holidays and family events, so it’s been difficult on my entire family,” said Luiz.
Luiz said this year’s Thanksgiving dinner is going to be much different to allow for safety measures.
“We are asking adults to wear face masks and are limiting guests as much as possible,” Luiz said. “We are asking families to not come if they feel sick or have been around people who have been sick. We are going to eat at a table six feet away from the rest of my family and clean surfaces regularly.”
Kern County is continuing to see an increase in COVID-19 cases, and the state required Kern County, along with 40 other counties across the state to revert back into the purple tier — the most restrictive tier.
Kern County Public Health is urging the community to take personal responsibility and practice healthy habits that include wearing a mask in public, washing your hands regularly, keeping at least six feet of physical distance when in public, and limiting mixing with people you don’t live with.