Sacramento County is one of the 11 California counties moving back into a more restrictive tier in the state's color-coded COVID-19 reopening plan.
Health officials and doctors are urging residents to stay home, stay safe and stay apart from each other. But with the chilly weather and holidays around the corner, people might find themselves suffering from “COVID fatigue.”
Sacramento County Department of Health Services Director Dr. Peter Beilenson urges Sacramentans not to fall into that fatigue, because according to him, “we’re about five months away from mass production of [a COVID-19] vaccine, maybe less.”
“The number one message is just for this last period of time before the vaccine becomes available … Just for this Christmas and this Thanksgiving, just try not to gather except for people from your own family,” Beilenson said on CapRadio's Insight.
If people want to gather, Beilenson suggested having celebrations outdoors during the afternoon when the weather is warmer, and to put card tables between people to enforce social distancing.
“Things like that can at least hopefully reduce the risk, and being outdoors reduces the risk significantly,” Beilenson said.
Yolo County Public Health Officer Dr. Aimee Sisson suggested that people interested in celebrating the upcoming holidays with friends considerably minimize their in-person contact with other people for at least two weeks before a gathering.
“So that would be staying home a lot more often, not getting together with other groups of friends or family so that you won’t have any exposures that puts you at risk on Thanksgiving day,” Dr. Sisson said. “Getting tested is great, but minimizing contacts for two weeks before is even more important.”
For people who want to get tested in Yolo County before meeting up with family or friends, Sisson said the county can handle an influx of people at their testing facilities. However, she stressed that people still need to be vigilant with their health to return society to normal.
“We are close to the end of this, but we aren’t there yet. Now’s not the time to let down our guard as cases are increasing,” Sisson said. “So [we’re] asking people to continue to make these sacrifices for just a little bit longer so we can make it through to when we have a vaccine and things can start to return to normal.”
UC Davis Health Chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases Dr. Dean Blumberg argues that if people do not continue to follow safety measures — wear masks, wash hands, and social distance — we could be heading into the “darkest days” of the pandemic.
“So by Christmas, [the pandemic] has the potential to be a real disaster,” Blumberg said. “All the models show that we’re going to have more than three times increased the numbers of cases and deaths.”
He predicts that by January, we may run out of intensive care units.
“We’re going to want to look back on days like today when all these warnings were given out, and people really need to follow the advice of the public health experts,” Blumberg said.
With the colder weather and upcoming holidays, Sacramentans might be looking to eat indoors, but with the county being downgraded to a riskier tier level, indoor dining will be closed.
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