Here in Illinois, our COVID-19 positivity rate has rapidly climbed up to 3% within just a couple of weeks as cold, wet, snowy weather arrived. Yes, we are now in a winter surge of COVID-19. With Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and New Year’s Day holidays arriving, we all need to prepare for the awful COVID surge. It is during these winter holidays that folks return to indoor venues where there is an increased risk of contracting dangerous respiratory communicable diseases like COVID.
Governor Pritzker, Mayor Lightfoot, Illinois Department of Public Health and Chicago Department of Public Health have been just so GREAT with vaccine initiatives and public health safety efforts. I really believe Illinois has demonstrated the BEST public health safety measures in the U.S. since the start of the COVID pandemic.
Unfortunately, there has been a great deal of resistance, push-back and political hate being aimed at public health safety measures, so it is time to prepare and brace for the COVID-19 winter surge with increased positivity rates.
As a Registered Nurse, Board Certified Advanced Practice Nurse Clinical Specialist and Vaccine Ambassador, I highly recommend that folks consider doing the following proactive 10 steps for safety during the COVID winter surge:
- Get fully vaccinated.
- Get the COVID booster vaccine.
- Get the flu shot!
- Mask up when leaving home. Wear your mask the correct way with your nose and mouth completely covered.
- Strict hand hygiene with soap and water. Use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
- Your protective bubble should be limited to those who are fully vaccinated.
- No need to shelter-in-place, BUT you should know the vaccination status of your direct and close contacts.
- Opt for remote / virtual platforms rather than in person venues.
- Limit indoor winter holiday gatherings to fully vaccinated folks.
- Winter holiday meals really should be contactless pick up for food trays.