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With the COVID-19 vaccine administration underway for our most vulnerable frontline health care workers, there is hope we can return to some sense of normalcy.  Unfortunately, we still have a long road ahead of us, making it vitally important to follow all those non-pharmaceutical interventions we have been preaching since last spring. The local hospitals, including our own Memorial Hospital, have confirmed record high COVID-19 positive patients since the pandemic began, which is stressing the health care system. We have made every effort to keep our restaurants and businesses open, however, our county continues to remain in the red putting us in a very serious position.  We need cooperation now more than ever, especially with the Holiday season quickly approaching.

Looking at the current surge of COVID-19 cases, a significant percentage can be traced back to Thanksgiving parties and gatherings.  We understand family and social interaction is so important for our physical and mental well-being, but there are certain precautions that need to be followed to make it as safe as possible.  The hospitals, the health care system, businesses, and our own residents cannot afford another surge!  As everyone plans for the holidays, please do your absolute best to implement the following practices;

  1. Travel may increase your chance of spreading and getting Covid-19. CDC continues to recommend postponing travel at this time.
  2. Keep social gatherings to an absolute minimum, preferably with those individuals who are already within your social bubble (household contacts). No social gathering shall exceed 25 individuals (see EO 20-50).
  3. Wear a mask over your mouth and nose and stay at least 6 feet away from others when you are with individuals outside your social bubble.
  4. Avoid crowded, poorly ventilated indoor spaces. Indoor gatherings, especially those with poor ventilation, pose more risk than outdoor gatherings. Consider limiting your time together as well.
  5. Wash your hands often, use hand sanitizer, and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  6. Consider hosting virtual celebrations with family and friends. There are many creative options available to keep in touch without risking spread.

All of us here at the Dubois County Health Department wants to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, let’s make this holiday season as safe as possible.

Shawn Werner                                                                        Dr. Theodore Waflart

Administrative Director                                               Dubois County Health Officer

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