Omicron Safety: Tips for a Healthy Holiday Season

Families will need to take extra precautions to stay safe this holiday season due to the rise of COVID-19 cases. Variants such as the Delta and Omicron variant spread more easily.

Richard Martinello, MD, Medical Director of Infection Prevention for Yale New Haven Health says “there’s always risk involved” when you leave your home. However, getting vaccinated, wearing masks and practicing physical distancing are all ways to reduce your risk.

Dr. Martinello answered some frequently asked questions about holiday safety. Learn more below.

How can I gather with loved ones safely this year?

“There are so many different ways to make in-person events safer,” said Dr. Martinello.

The best thing you can do is to get vaccinated. Everyone who is eligible should get a booster dose as well.

If you meet with others from outside your household, it is also a good idea to get tested about two days before your gathering or use a home test and test the same day before your gathering.

If possible, spend time outdoors where there is increased ventilation. If that is not possible, opening windows can help increase airflow.

Can I gather with people who have not gotten a booster?

Ideally, every gathering you have this holiday season should be with people who have gotten their booster shot. However, most younger kids are not eligible yet. When families gather with kids, masking and physical distancing will be important ways to keep everyone safe.

Do I need a COVID-19 test before gathering with others?

Getting tested is a great way to help stop the spread of COVID-19, even for those who are fully vaccinated. Schedule your test about two days before your gathering is set to take place or use a home test. If the test is positive, stay home and isolate.

Can I travel this holiday season?

Traveling for the holiday season is another activity that will involve some level of risk. Before you hit the road, think about ways to make the trip safer. For example, traveling by car is one of the safest ways to get around.

Air travel can also be a safe option due to the advanced ventilation on planes. Look for an airline that requires masks be worn on board.

What else can I do to stay safe?

If you are sick, you need to stay home. It may be disappointing to cancel plans but it is so important. Of course, don’t forget all the public health advice you learned over the past several months. Hand washing, mask wearing in public and spending time outdoors are all ways to protect yourself and others.