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Curbing COVID-19 cases this holiday season

Posted at 6:27 AM, Dec 17, 2020

Hope is on the horizon as Utah begins to administer the COVID-19 vaccine. But experts say now is not the time to let down your guard.

Dr. Amy Khan, Executive Medical Director for Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah says, "With the increased numbers of COVID cases across our community, it’s really important to reduce the likelihood of exposure."

After months of COVID-19 fatigue, it might be easy for some to relax now that a vaccine is here. But Khan says, "Now it couldn’t be more important to take action and prevent the ongoing spread of this disease."

Khan says it could still be quite some time before the vaccine is widely distributed, and as we celebrate the holiday season more group gatherings could lead to more possible exposure to the virus.

Some question just what exposure really means. The CDC defines exposure as "Being within 6 feet of an infected person for 15 minutes or more over a 24 hour period."

Regence has released a chart to help you identify your risk, and what you should do if you think you may have been exposed (tap here for the Spanish version).

Dr. Khan says if you have been exposed to COVID-19, "You want to quarantine for a period of 14 days, and monitor for the symptoms of COVID-19, ideally getting a COVID-19 test, within 5 to 7 days of that exposure. In addition, you want to take steps to protect you from others, and protect others from you, by wearing that mask, staying physically distant, washing your hands."

She says the best course of action this holiday season is to eliminate those possible points of exposure, scaling back any social gatherings or instead, hosting them virtually.

And although we've all heard it before, the most important things you can do to keep yourself and your family safe include wearing a mask, keeping a six-foot distance from others outside your household, wash your hands thoroughly, and stay home when you're sick.