Medical Officer of Health Dr Rachel Eyre: “We’ve all worked hard and want to unwind, let’s do so knowing that we are keeping ourselves and everyone else around us safe”
As COVID-19 case numbers climb again and are anticipated to peak over the festive period, it is important to be prepared and know how to keep safe while on holiday or when reconnecting with family and friends.
As a Medical Officer of Health, I am passionate about community health and wellbeing, and for me this summer, that means staying safe while heading away, receiving visitors, or attending large events.
In all of those situations, maintaining those healthy habits we’ve developed will go a long way to prevent infection in the first place: keeping up good hygiene; coughing and sneezing into elbows; avoiding or limiting time in crowded spaces. Masks are best worn in indoor situations where there are strangers, or in crowded and poorly ventilated spaces. Summer hopefully means we can spend most of our time outdoors!
Even if an event is outdoors (and we are lucky to have many of those in Nelson Marlborough this summer!) please don’t take part if you are sick, have symptoms of COVID-19 or test positive for COVID-19. I know it’s not an easy ask if you’ve paid for and booked into an event you’ve looked forward to. However, large events have the potential for being super spreader situations. Even if you were to come off lightly, someone else may be highly vulnerable and develop serious complications. COVID-19 can also make pre-existing conditions worse.
When you develop your holiday list, include hand sanitiser, masks, enough of your usual medication to see you through, and RAT tests. Ideally, bring 5 RATs per person, that way if you or someone you are travelling with becomes unwell you can test immediately. Request RATs here.
The isolation period is 7 days, so have a plan for where to isolate if you get sick while away from home. Returning home is possible if you have a private vehicle, can get home with no overnight stays, and without a flight, ferry, or other public transportation. Otherwise, you must isolate somewhere without shared facilities. Talk to your accommodation provider ahead of time. If you are travelling to stay with friends or family, discuss if there is a part of their home you can stay in without putting them at risk.
We’ve all worked hard and want to unwind, let’s do so knowing that we are keeping ourselves and everyone else around us safe.
Visit the Unite against COVID website for more information.