How to celebrate the holidays and stay COVID-safe

Published: Nov. 29, 2022 at 5:25 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - The Thanksgiving holiday brought many families back together for in-person gatherings, but it could have brought an unwelcome visitor as well: COVID-19.

Director of the Maine CDC Dr. Nirav Shah says family gatherings like holiday dinners are the perfect place for respiratory illnesses to spread.

These include COVID-19, RSV and the flu, especially now that many precautions such as masking and social distancing are no longer in use.

But, Dr. Shah says he wants to see families back together for these celebrations, especially after years of lost social connections.

He says the best ways to stay safe are to get your COVID booster and flu shots, and stock up on COVID tests - something that’s now easier than ever for Mainers to do.

“You can go to accesscovidtests.org and all you need to do is put your name and address in, and the State of Maine will ship you 5 COVID tests every month - for the foreseeable future - for free,” Shah said. “I really think everyone should have a case of COVID-19 tests at home, ready to go, in case you need to use them. You can use those before you go to reduce the likelihood you will infect somebody, or you can use them after, if you start feeling symptoms, to see if what you have is COVID, or something different.”

Shah says people should have a conversation with their doctor in case they do test positive, and form a plan, including what treatment options are available and where you can access them.