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Health officials discuss COVID safety over the holidays

COVID-19
Posted at 4:16 PM, Nov 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-23 19:16:05-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Americans across the nation and in Kern County are already hitting the roads or in the air as the holiday season kicks off.

But as COVID cases are on the rise across the nation – health officials said it’s important to get the vaccine now more than ever.

Thanksgiving is just two days away which means the holiday season is here, some people are already gathering with their families.

But this time last year is when Kern County saw a surge of COVID cases.

Health officials said with the variants in the mix it’s important to take every precaution when coming together this year.

“The thing to think about is this season the reason why we’re concerned, the first one is we have the delta variant, so we know the delta variant is incredibly infectious,” said Dr. Tomás Aragón, State Public Health Officer & Directory of the CDPH.

It’s a time that many families didn’t get last year – coming together for the holiday season.

But the pandemic is still here and health officials are worried another COVID surge could be on the way.

“Obviously in the winter this time of year, people are going to be gathering indoors in general, doing shopping indoors, etc, but also getting together with families indoors, they’re going to be traveling to different cities, so all that mobility and spending time indoors, means that people will likely transmit the virus to each other, so we’re concerned about that,” said Aragón.

Aragon said another reason health officials have warnings is that some people may not even know they have the virus.

“We’re concerned about people who are unvaccinated, so they're really going to be at high risk of becoming infected, about 50 percent of them won’t have symptoms so they will be infectious and don’t even know it,” said Aragón.

Aragón said those who are unvaccinated are about seven times more likely to get COVID, about 14 times more likely to be hospitalized, and up to 20 times more likely to be reported as a death.

While cases in Kern County are currently decreasing Michelle Corson with the Kern County Department of Public Health said the increase of cases could still happen locally.

“Although our cases are decreasing the modeling is really suggesting that we definitely could be in the midst of another surge on the horizon following this holiday season,” said Corson.

Corson and Aragón also said if you are eligible, it's also important to get your booster shot.

“Getting that booster dose to ensure you have that ultimate protection and avoid any of the waning immunity that these very effective vaccines have for us, it's just over time, they begin to wane and that becomes the importance of this booster dose especially as we go into the holidays,” said Corson.

Aragon also said don’t stop doing other safety precautions like using hand sanitizers, wearing masks, and social distancing – and try to open doors and windows if you are indoors.