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October 29, 2020

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Adjusting holiday plans in the face of COVID-19

This year’s holiday season will look very different from past years. Because of the health risks associated with COVID-19 – underscored by today’s record case numbers – we’ll have to adjust our plans to keep our loved ones and ourselves safe. This may feel especially difficult as the time we spend away from family and friends grows longer.

In coming weeks, we will be providing tips for navigating the holidays and COVID-19. Today, we’re starting with holiday travel.

Many people plan their vacations around the holidays so they can visit loved ones. This year, staying home is the safest way to avoid exposing yourself and others to infection.

While it’s a good idea to get a COVID-19 test before you go anywhere, know that a negative test result does not mean you have a free pass. Some tests produce a high percentage of false negatives, so even if you test negative, please follow stringent safety protocols if you travel. 

If you must travel during the holidays, the safest way to do so is to travel by car and only with people you live with.

Traveling by air, train or bus exposes everyone to a higher risk of infection. Crowded airports, bus and train stations do not allow for physical distancing and increase the duration of exposure to anyone who might be sick.

Traveling by car with friends or family who are not part of your household raises infection risk for all passengers due to proximity and duration of exposure.

If you must travel, follow these tips:

  • Limit your exposure to non-household members for 14 days before visiting older adults or family members who are at higher risk of infection.
  • Get your flu shot at least two weeks prior to travel.
  • Wear an approved face covering in crowded areas including airports, airplanes, buses or trains.
  • Stay in a separate room from others when you arrive at your destination.
  • After returning home, quarantine for 14 days and limit your exposure to those outside of your household.

During the holiday season, remember this safety guidance: Stay home when sick and avoid others. Wear a face covering around at-risk family members#MyORHealth horizontal rule

Record case count a reminder to stay vigilant

Today’s daily case count of 575 is the highest since the beginning of the pandemic. Preliminary data show this increase reflects continued widespread community transmission resulting in small clusters and outbreaks statewide.

It is also a reminder of the importance of staying vigilant in practicing the protective measures to slow the spread of the illness. OHA published face covering guidance last week that requires that people consistently wear face coverings while indoors at their workplace or all other places where they will be in contact with people they don’t live with.

#MyORHealth horizontal rule

Limited indoor visits allowed at qualifying long-term care facilities

Protecting the health of our vulnerable elders has been a necessary priority during the pandemic. But for many folks, missing out on visits with loved ones who may not be able to meet outdoors has been difficult.   

Starting Nov. 2, licensed nursing, assisted living and residential care facilities that qualify will be able to allow limited indoor visitation for residents. Residents will be able to have up to two visitors at a time to meet with in an approved area.   

More information on the policy and how facilities can qualify are available on the Oregon Department of Human Services news release.

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