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SLO County Public Health urges caution this Thanksgiving amid respiratory 'tripledemic'

Tribune - 11/22/2022

Nov. 22—Thanksgiving 2022 comes in the wake of a respiratory "tripledemic" of COVID-19, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) — which continue to spread widely throughout San Luis Obispo County.

San Luis Obispo County Public Health officials urged common sense precautions as families travel and gather for the holidays.

"Respiratory viruses are spreading more than usual right now but there are things you can do to make your gatherings safer for yourself and loved ones, while helping SLO County avoid a major surge," County Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein said in a news release. "The most important thing you can do is stay home and away from others if you're sick, even if you test negative for COVID-19."

Public Health offers some health and safety tips to protect yourself and loved ones from the respiratory viruses circulating:

— Stay home if you are sick, even if you test negative for COVID-19.

— Test for COVID-19 1 to 3 days before travel and gatherings and 3 to 5 days after returning home to interrupt asymptomatic spread and get treatment if needed.

— Keep gatherings small and local, which tend to be the safest.

— Gather outdoors in possible. If gathering indoors, circulate fresh air with open windows and doors.

— Wash hands thoroughly and often. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as door knobs, phones and light switches. Avoid touching your face.

— Stay up-to date on COVID-19 and flu vaccines. Both shots are a good match for strains circulating currently.

— Wear an N95 or KN95 mask in crowds or indoors. Masking prior to gathering helps protect opportunity to celebrate.

These measures can help protect against infection.

While there is no vaccine for RSV, health officials suggest parents with newborns, preterm infants or children with respiratory conditions take added precautions to protect children and babies from contracting against RSV.

"(For) parents of children under a year old, my advice is to be extremely careful," Sierra Vista Regional Hospital Chair of Pediatrics Dr. Mathieu de Schutter told The Tribune. "Even if that means that moms of newborns have to stay away from the house for eight to 10 days if some of their other children have cold symptoms."

Although San Luis Obispo County is in a better position than last year when it comes to COVID-19, Public Health officials still advise precautions as 191 people have died from COVID-19 since Thanksgiving 2021.

"My heart goes out to those who are grieving this season. As we gather to celebrate and reflect, I encourage all of us to take steps to protect each other and our community," Borenstein said.


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