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Health officials stress safe COVID-19 measures in your Christmas holiday



AUGUSTA, Ga. – Even weeks after Thanksgiving, hospitals are still seeing its impact.

“I really would encourage people to be incredibly cautious. Keep the gatherings small. Every person you add to a gathering is additional risk,” Dr. Phillip Coule said.

Dr. Coule, the chief medical officer of AU Health, says he understands the challenge it is. It’s Christmas, and it’s hard to imagine not being with family.

“I know my family is personally struggling with how we do this, and how we do it in a responsible way,” he said.

Health officials say there are several ways to be responsible:

Wear masks.

Social distance, especially during meals.

And if anyone is at high risk of contracting the virus, it’s best to have Christmas with just your household.

Health officials say it may seem harsh, but they saw it happening too many times at Thanksgiving. You’d much rather have more Christmas days with your loved one than to see them end up in the hospital after.

“Yes, it’s terrible, and we want everyone to be together. We really need to consider the longer-term implications of what may happen,” Coule said.

By being cautious, you can also ease the stress on a stretched healthcare system that health officials say is likely to be pushed to its boundaries after Christmas.

“Please consider those that are most at risk,” Coule said. “Please consider that you want many more Christmas’, not just this one.”