Guest Blogger: Howard R. Seidman
Restrictions for COVID-19 isolation have eased somewhat in New Jersey. It is the only U.S. state reporting two straight weeks of drops in new cases. Encouraging news, but if you are a senior or take care of one, should you resume venturing into public settings or gatherings of any size?
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says the risk of getting and spreading COVID-19 rises alongside the more people one interacts with, the closer that interaction is, and the longer that interaction lasts. So, seniors who have a higher probability of developing severe cases of COVID-19 need to consider their level of risk before leaving the house.
Risks of COVID-19 spreading at events and gatherings range from low (virtual activities) to high:
• Moderate: Small outdoor gatherings where people from different households remain spaced 6+ feet apart, wear face coverings, do not share objects, and live locally.
• Higher: Medium gatherings where people remain 6+ feet apart and include people attending from other areas.
• Highest: Large gatherings where it is hard for people to stay spaced 6+ feet apart and include people attending from other areas.
Spending time with relatives/friends?
Visits with relatives and friends still require social distancing. Outdoor visits are preferable; when not possible, stay in well-ventilated rooms/spaces that are large enough for socially distanced table and chair arrangements.
Continue avoiding close contact with visitors including handshakes, elbow bumps or hugs; waves and verbal greetings are best. Avoid others that are not wearing face coverings. And consider keeping a list of people at the gathering: if someone tests positive for coronavirus, it will help with contract tracing – which helps determine the source and extent of virus spread.
Seniors and caregivers must always be vigilant to avoid contracting and spreading coronavirus. It is important to think twice about visits, gatherings, or even running errands. Sometimes, avoiding activities where taking protective measures presents a challenge, is best.