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Navigating the holidays proves difficult during a pandemic

Posted at 6:16 PM, Dec 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-02 21:22:34-05

With coronavirus continuing to spread across much of the country, navigating parts of the holidays may be challenging especially when it comes to religious services.

As the holiday season begins, you might be wondering about the risks of getting sick with COVID-19 as you make plans to celebrate.

We asked the experts, what's the risk of going to a religious service around the holidays?

Their take: attending a religious service is high risk.

"The risk of going to a religious service at a synagogue, church, or another place of worship or gathering will highly depend on the number of people, space, the ventilation. And if it's indoors or outdoors," dr. Kelly Cawcutt, an infectious disease specialist at Nebraska Medicine, said.

"We've seen a lot of outbreaks actually in religious congregations' sites," Dr. Irfan hafiz, infectious disease physician and northwest region chief medical officer, northwestern medicine, said, "And especially if they're not adhering to social distancing and masking guidelines, it just further just really, really starts to escalate then. An important point is it's not about you, the individual who may perceive themselves as being healthy, getting COVID. It's about you acquiring that and spreading it to somebody who's not well. "

"if you're attending a service that is in a large venue that's well ventilated, where masks are expected and people are going to be socially distant. That's a pretty low-risk environment and one that I would be comfortable being a part of. If you're on the other end of the spectrum and this is rather going to be in a typical space with people sitting shoulder to shoulder, potentially without masks, that's a higher risk environment," Dr. Iahn Gunzenhauser, chief quality and patient safety officer at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, said.

Check here for more answers on what is low, medium, or high risk.