As we begin to plan our holiday celebrations, taking precautions to keep our families and loved ones safe will be just as important as ensuring we have all the necessary ingredients for the pecan pie. Especially with Alameda County getting bumped back to the most restrictive Purple Tier due the rapidly rising number COVID-19 cases. The State’s purple tier limits restaurants, movie theaters, places of worship and gyms to outdoor services, among other restrictions.

“At Alameda Health System (AHS) we know these unprecedented times bring new challenges but taking steps to safely celebrate the holidays and maintaining our connections with family, friends and loved ones is even more important than ever before. With the double threat of COVID-19 and flu we can never be too careful, too prepared, or too aware to ensure the health and safety of ourselves and each other,” said Dr. Deborah Ellis, Alameda Health System, Director of Infection Prevention and Control.

Ellis said there are simple steps we can take to prevent the spread of communicable diseases like COVID-19 such as wearing a face covering, maintaining six feet distance from each other, keeping gathering to two hours or less and staying home if you’re sick. For flu, getting your influenza vaccine is the strongest prevention measure you can take.

“This holiday season will be hard on all of us, but we need to think of our loved-ones who are at higher-risk due to their age or because of an underlying health condition. The last thing we want to do is expose them to a potentially deadly disease,” said Ellis.

Ellis said lower-risk holiday activities include preparing meals for vulnerable family members and delivering them while maintaining social distancing, having a virtual dinner with family and friends and shopping online rather than in-store.

For additional tips on how to celebrate the holidays safely visit the Alameda County Public Health and the California Department of Public Health websites.