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Hope “Springs” Eternal 

 

Nothing says hope like springtime. Life is evident in the newly budded trees and the colorful blooms. The sound of birds chirping and even the buzz of the insects as they dart through the air, magnetizing that life has begun a new cycle.

Indeed, the spring of 2021 is filled with hope.  This time last year the festivities of spring were stalled, to say the least. COVID-19 pandemic gripped the world and stopped it in its tracks. Travel, socializing, and life ceased to exist as society once defined it. Fear and uncertainty replaced the hope and excitement that accompanies spring. 

Can you imagine the Easter Bunny hopping across the lawn while the children hunt eggs, or the smell of the beautiful lilies in Grandma’s front yard that signify resurrection of hope and happiness? The reality is this is the closest we’ve been to re-claiming the activities we once knew before the pandemic. 

 

What spring traditions are you looking forward to resuming? Family dinners, picnics with friends, and trips to amusement parks all sound like fun. However, there is something that cannot be ignored or forgotten. Although there are three vaccines on the market, and people around the world are being vaccinated in masses. We are still in the midst of the pandemic.

We cannot let our guard down, yet it is possible to have a safe celebration with others. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Hold your event outdoors, if possible. If that is not possible, open up the windows to allow adequate ventilation.

  • Consider limiting the attendees and ask attendees to wear masks.The Moderna vaccine requires two doses to be considered fully vaccinated.

  • Use single-use items, e.g., salad dressings, condiments, and disposable utensils.

2. So, you say that's you? Great! Here is what it means for you.

 

  • You may now gather indoors without wearing a mask or practicing social/physical distancing with others who are also fully vaccinated.

  • You may gather unmasked indoors with unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low-risk for severe COVID-19 disease if they were to come down with it.  You may do this without practicing social/physical distancing as well.

  • If a fully vaccinated individual is exposed to COVID-19 but is asymptomatic, they may forgo being placed into quarantine as well as testing.

3. It is okay to insert the applause here, but not too fast on throwing out the masks!

  • Fully vaccinated individuals should continue to wear a face mask in public and continue to practice social/physical distancing as well as follow other prevention strategies.

  • Avoid medium-to-large in-person gatherings.

  • A fully vaccinated individual should get tested if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

  • Follow the guidance issued by your employer. Follow CDC and Public Health Department travel requirements and recommendations.

  • Wear masks when visiting with unvaccinated people from multiple households, e.g. parties or other gatherings.

Phyllis Riles, MHA, BSN is a certified Infection Control and Prevention (CIC) nurse who specializes in educating others on practical ways to prevent the spread of disease. Prior to becoming an Infection Control Educator/Trainer for GermBlast, Phyllis was the Director of Infection Prevention, at a large metropolitan hospital in Texas.