Illinois health officials offer holiday guidance amid fresh COVID-19 concerns

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With Illinoisans making plans to spend time with family and friends for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, the Department of Public Health released new guidance for holiday gatherings amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Department Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said anyone who is planning a holiday gathering should try to limit their exposure to other people beforehand.

“Remember, if people are coming to your home from out of town, or you yourself will be going out of town, try to see if you can limit your exposure in the preceding two weeks,” Ezike said.

Ezike advised people to plan parties that are spread out throughout the house, and open windows occasionally when weather permits to create airflow. She adds that planning should also go into seating arrangements.

“First of all, you are thinking about how many people you can safely arrange in your home, and see if you can keep members of the same household together and separate other households,” she said.

IDPH recommends avoiding peak times when grocery shopping for a holiday gathering, or use other options, like ordering online or calling ahead to the store and use curbside pickup.

Ezike added that people who don’t feel well around the holidays shouldn’t attend.

“We all want to be around our family and friends during the holidays, but if you are sick, please, please understand that you need to stay home,” Ezike said.

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