Page 20 - Senior Times South Central Michigan November 2020 - 27-11
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Page 20 Senior Times - November 2020
 HOLIDAY GATHERING SAFETY TIPS FOR SENIORS
By: Sherii Sherban, Publisher
Holiday gatherings for Michiganders will be different this year due to COVID-19. However, your family doesn't have to miss out on being together during the holidays whether it’s virtual or in-person.
Seniors with increased risks need to take extra care as they make decisions on how to attend holiday events this year.
    Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) provided new guidance on October 9 in an Emergency Epidemic Order, which urges Michiganders to consider hosting virtual festivities instead of in-person holiday gatherings if there is a risk of community spread based on the risk identified in the MI Safe Start map. The map can be found at the State of Michigan Coronavirus Website at Michigan.gov/coronavirus.
Community levels of COVID-19: Review the MI Safe Start map before you have gath- erings to know the level of viral spread in your community and the communities where your guests may be travelling from. If there is community spread, refrain from hosting or attending a holiday gathering. Consider a vir- tual gathering using online meeting software instead.
General Considerations Before you Celebrate – While outdoors is best it is gener- ally too cold to do so in our community over the holidays. When hosting an indoor event, avoid crowded, poorly ventilated, or fully enclosed indoor spaces as much as possible. Increase ventilation by opening windows and doors to the extent that is safe and feasible based on the weather. Consider these addition- al tips for hosting gatherings:
• Host activities with only people from your
“Celebrating the holiday season with fam- ily and friends is one of our most cherished traditions,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “Even though the way we celebrate may have to be different, the guidance issued today shows there are still many ways to spend qual- ity time with family and friends safely during this festive season.”
The location of the gathering: Indoor gatherings generally pose more risk than out- door gatherings. Indoor gatherings with poor ventilation pose more risk than those with good ventilation, such as those with open windows or doors.
• Provide updated information to your guests about any COVID-19 safety guidelines and steps in place to prevent the spread of the virus.
There are several factors that contribute
to the risk of infection regarding COVID-19 at a holiday celebration, or any gathering. In combination, risk factors may increase, so
it is important to consider them individually and together. Here are some tips provided
by MDHHS so you can get the most out of your holiday gatherings and reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.
The number of people at the gath- ering: Gatherings with more people pose more risk than gatherings with fewer people. The October 9, 2020 MDHHS Emergency Epidemic Order states that indoor gatherings should be 10 people or less to limit or reduce the number of contacts and risk for spreading the virus.
If you are planning in-person holiday gath- erings with people outside of your household, consider asking all guests to limit contact with others as much as possible 14 days before the gathering.
The duration of the gathering: Gatherings that last longer pose more risk than shorter gatherings.
• Provide or encourage attendees to bring sup- plies to help you and others stay healthy. For example, extra masks (do not share or swap with others), hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, and tissues.
The behaviors of attendees during the gathering: Gatherings with preventive
During the Celebration – Keep safe around food and drinks. Currently, there is
no evidence to suggest that handling food or eating is associated with directly spreading COVID-19. It is possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object,
measures, such as mask wearing, social dis- tancing, and hand washing, in place pose less risk than gatherings where fewer or no preven- tive measures are being implemented.
 local area as much as possible. Limit num- bers of attendees that are not already sharing time together.
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