Health officials urge Virginians to stay home for the holidays

Published: Dec. 4, 2020 at 8:32 PM EST
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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - Public health officials are urging everyone to stay safe over the holiday season and keep social distancing, sanitation and masking guidelines in mind.

“A vaccine is coming but we don’t expect it to be widely available to the general public until sometime next summer so we have to stay the course,” Vanessa Walker Harris, the Deputy Secretary of Health & Human Resources for Governor Northam, told WHSV News. “We have to stay vigilant so we can see our friends and family in person next year.”

Walker-Harris said the most important thing for everyone to do is stay home for the holidays.

“That means those simple public health measures: washing your hands, watching your distance, wearing your face mask, for the holiday season that means staying home,” Walker-Harris explained.

Dr. Allison Baroco is an infectious disease doctor at Augusta Health. She said if a surge follows the Thanksgiving holiday, we won’t see those numbers reported for another couple of days.

“Frequently, when we’re thinking about our hospitalized patients that end up with more severe illness, that takes several days after actually becoming positive from COVID to develop that inflammatory response,” Dr. Baroco said. “A week of incubation prior to the onset of disease and then the presentation for the patients that become hospitalized is usually a week after that. That is like a 14-day lag.”

As we get closer and closer to the December holidays, Dr. Baroco and Dr. Walker-Harris urge you to stay home and find other ways to celebrate.

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