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North Carolina’s COVID-19 trends continue to move in the wrong direction and everyone must be vigilant to prevent the spread of the virus. As the holiday season approaches, NCDHHS wants to make sure you take steps to decrease the spread of COVID-19. While the safest thing you can do for your friends, family, and loved ones is to avoid getting together in person, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk if you attend or host a holiday gathering.
Do not attend or host a gathering if you feel sick or have been diagnosed with or exposed to COVID-19.
Gathering limits of 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors are still in place. Smaller gatherings pose less risk than larger gatherings and meeting outdoors is safer than meeting indoors. If you have tables, have each group of people who live together sit at their own table and keep tables at least 6 feet apart from one another. This is especially important as people will need to remove masks when eating or drinking. Clean and disinfect commonly-touched surfaces such as door handles or sink faucets.
Remember your 3 Ws (Wear, Wait, and Wash). Wear a mask over your nose and mouth the whole time you are together – other than when eating or drinking. Wash your hands regularly or use hand sanitizer. And stay at least 6 feet apart, especially when eating or drinking.
Consider getting a COVID-19 test prior to travel or attending family gatherings. You can find testing sites by using the Find My Testing Place tool online. Screening tests are not perfect, but they can catch some people who have the virus and don’t have symptoms yet. Screening tests can miss some infections – particularly if you use rapid tests. And, a negative test only gives you information for that point in time. A negative test does not mean you will remain negative.
Let’s keep all of our family and friends safe this holiday season. Remember, it’s not how well you know someone when it comes to wearing a mask. If they don’t live with you, get behind the mask.