How to Lower Your Risk While Celebrating 4th of July
Posted on Friday, Jul. 3, 2020 at 9:17 am
The holiday weekend approaches, and, at the same time, the number of COVID-19 cases have been increasing in Dane County. As we shared in Monday’s blog post, many of the new cases we’re seeing are associated with gatherings with family and friends, as well as people going out to bars. While indoor seating in bars is closed, it’s more important than ever that people take steps to reduce the risk of COVID-19 during any hangout or gathering they’re having this weekend.
Here are some ways you could reduce your risk:
- Stay 6 feet from others. This is important because people spread COVID-19 through respiratory droplets, which are released into the air when people cough, sneeze, talk, and breathe. Staying 6 feet from others keeps you away from those droplets and lowers your risk of being exposed.
- Wear a mask over your mouth and nose as much as possible. Masks are especially useful when you are not able to stay 6 feet from others. Your mask doesn’t have to be fancy—a cloth one will do. The more people that wear masks, the lower the risk of spreading COVID-19 at a gathering.
- Use other risk reduction methods. Stay outside, avoid sharing food, drinks, and dishes, and keep groups small and contained. We have more tips on our website.
- Think about how you can have fun with your friends and family while also lowering your risk. An indoor, crowded event like a house party is high risk, but there are lots of activities that you can easily do while staying 6 feet apart and masking up. You could go hiking in a county or state park, have a movie night outdoors, kick a soccer ball around, have a bonfire, or have a socially distanced picnic.
Finally, it’s important to know that testing negative for COVID-19 doesn’t mean you can get within 6 feet of others or skip wearing a mask. It can take up to 14 days after you were exposed to COVID-19 for you to become COVID-19 positive. Every time you hang out within 6 feet of other people, you’ve potentially exposed others or exposed yourself again to COVID-19. Testing doesn’t prevent you from getting or spreading COVID-19. The only way to reduce your risk is to change your behavior.
It's not easy to change the way we interact with others. Social connection is important, and certain holidays can hold a lot of meaning and nostalgia for us. But the good news is that we can do a lot of the same things we used to do before the pandemic if we make a few doable shifts to our routines. Right now our social behavior is spreading COVID-19 rapidly in Dane County, but if we all take a few steps back and put a mask on, we can stop spreading COVID-19 and continue living our lives.