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As cases spike, health department recommends precautions for safe holidays

The Henderson County Department of Public Health on Monday issued recommendations for practical precautions people can take to ensure a safe, healthy and happy holiday.

Covid-19 rates are on the rise once again after a brief leveling-off before Thanksgiving. On Nov. 19, Henderson County reported 25.7 cases per 100,000 people. On Dec. 17, case counts were at 39.4 per 100,000. Henderson County now exceeds both state and national averages for Covid-19 case rates.

While the Delta variant currently remains the dominant strain, cases are likely to increase further with the emergence of the Omicron variant. This is during a time when people are spending more time indoors and preparing to gather for the upcoming holidays. Local hospitals are already experiencing significant demand and the severity of Omicron cases is not yet clear.

“I am extremely concerned about the trends evidenced in other countries with extraordinary increases in Omicron cases,” said Health Director Steve Smith. “We want to keep our hospitals from being overwhelmed and we want to protect the most vulnerable. It’s tough for everyone to manage yet another surge, but with everyone’s help and some commonsense decision making, we’ll get through it.”

Please consider these tips to have a safer holiday:

  • Consider vaccination if you haven’t already done so. Get a booster shot when you are eligible.
  • Wear a mask, especially in indoor public spaces and around unvaccinated people.
  • Get tested if you have symptoms and before and after gathering or traveling.
  • Gather in ventilated indoor places or outdoors when conditions allow.
  • Manage stress during the holidays. Give yourself a break if you feel stressed out, overwhelmed, and out of control. Some of the best ways to manage stress are to find support, connect socially, and get plenty of sleep.
  • Stay home if you are feeling sick.