CovidHolidaySafetyThe holidays are coming up. Unfortunately COVID-19 cases are on the rise, which makes for difficult and risky planning. The CDC has important holiday guidelines for all of us, which are meant to supplement - not replace - state and local health and safety laws, rules, and regulations. It is important to assess current COVID-19 levels in your community, and also where you are considering going.

For gatherings, whether attending or hosting, the CDC site has very helpful guidelines for who should or shouldn't attend, what is considered safe behavior during the celebration, as well as after the celebration. We encourage everyone to abide by these guidelines, including avoiding gathering with people who live outside your household. MDS will do its part to mitigate possible exposure or spread by limiting community participation activities and minimizing face-to-face contact for the week after Thanksgiving.

For travel, the risk factors are many, including type of travel (plane, car, etc.), behavior of your fellow travelers, adequate travel preparation, what to do or not do both during and after travel, and guidelines for who should not travel.

Know your risks: If you decide to travel and/or attend a holiday gathering, be prepared to quarantine afterwards. This will depend on where your gathering/travel takes you, behavior by both you and those around you during the event, and whether you have been exposed in any way to COVID-19. We strongly encourage all staff, individuals, and families to heed these CDC guidelines for gatherings and travel during this upcoming holiday season.

If you (individual, family member, staff) decide to travel or attend a large gathering beyond members of your immediate household, you could well find yourself in a position that requires quarantine.

*  Families/guardians should check with their Service Coordinators/Program Managers before finalizing plans to discuss appropriate holiday celebrations and travel.
*  Staff are encouraged to proactively talk with their supervisors about their holiday plans to determine if additional time off will need to be requested in case of quarantine.

Even though sometimes it can seem discouraging with the increased cold, darkness, and COVID cases, we've come so far from last March. Not only do we understand a lot more about how to remain safe, we're also developing skills for keeping us connected while social distancing. Let's keep that going.

Remember, every action and interaction you take can impact the health of someone. One staff person, or one family member who does not follow these guidelines runs the risk of infecting the individuals they are working with. We implore you to consider the risks for you, your family, and anyone you come in contact with as you make your holiday plans.

We thank you for all you are doing to keep everyone safe.

During this holiday season, PLEASE, act responsibly and stay safe.

Avoid the 3 Cs:
losed spaces with poor ventilation
  Crowded places
  Close contact situations

Remember the 3 Ws:
   Wear a mask or shield!
   Watch your distance—at least 6 feet!
   Wash your hands!


CDC Covid Guidelines

NH Covid Guidelines

Get Your Flu Vaccine
Gatherings can contribute to the spread of other infectious diseases. Getting a flu vaccine is an essential part of protecting your health and your family’s health this season. September and October are good times to get vaccinated. However, flu vaccines are still useful any time during the flu season and can often be accessed into January or later. Check with your pharmacy, urgent care center or local hospital.

If you are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, or live or work with someone at increased risk of severe illness, you should
     *Avoid in-person gatherings with people who do not live in your household.
     *Avoid larger gatherings and consider attending activities that pose lower risk (as described throughout this page) if you decide to attend an in-person gathering with people who do not live in your household.

Full details on guidelines on gatherings, hosting or attending, and travel during the upcoming holidays are outlined on the CDC website.