Illinois releases COVID-19 holiday safety tips

Regional News

CHICAGO- Halloween is a few weeks away and it will be followed by other big holidays. Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) are releasing guidance and tips on how to celebrate the holidays safely this year.

Gov. Pritzker said during an afternoon press conference that the virus doesn’t take a holiday and Illinoisans can’t let up either.

The IDPH director said the safest way to celebrate is with members of your household and connecting with others virtually.

The director went on to say if you do plan on celebrating with friends and family here are some things to consider:

Travel:

  • Traveling increases the chance of spreading COVID-19.  When planning travel, consider the mode of transportation. 
  • Traveling by plane, train, or bus can mean standing in lines and sitting less than 6 feet from people for long periods of time. 
  • Traveling by car may include stops along the way for gas, food, and bathroom break.  Decrease your risk by consistently wearing face coverings during travel.  
  • If you are sick, do not travel and do not attend gatherings and celebrations.  Even if your symptoms are mild, you may still be able to infect others, and no one wants the gift of sickness this season.

Holiday gatherings:

  • If you are hosting a holiday gathering, limit the number of guests and try to have as many activities outside as weather permits. 
  • If your gathering needs to be inside, try to increase airflow by partially opening a couple of windows.
  • Think about the seating arrangements if you are planning a meal.  Keep members of the same household together and try to put space between one family and another. Also, consider spreading tables out through different rooms.
  • When serving food, avoid a buffet-style or potluck setting and consider having one person serve all the food so that multiple people are not handling the serving utensils.  Also, try to limit the number of people going in and out of areas where food is being prepared – like the kitchen and dining room.
  • Limit your activities in the two weeks before your gathering and ask your guests to do the same.  This will decrease the risk of exposure to the virus and further spread.

Shopping:

  • Try to do gift shopping online by looking at local store websites and choosing pick-up options. 
  • Grocery shopping online with delivery and curbside pick-up is also available in many locations.  If you need to shop in-person, try to go at a time when stores are not as busy.

IDPH also suggests you get your flu shot now. It will take a few weeks for the antibodies to build up and it will help protect you from getting the flu during the holidays.

Today, the state reported 2,862 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 49 additional deaths. IDPH is reporting a total of 327,605 cases, including 9,074 deaths.

Gov. Pritzker also discussed the state seeing an increase in its positivity rate. He says it went up one full percentage point. He said hospitalizations are up, too.

He called it a concerning trend and also called out Region 1 in northern Illinois and Region 5 in southern Illinois for its rising positivity rates.

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