The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have predicted that the holiday season will create an increase in the intensity of the COVID-19 pandemic. This will be attributed to increased travel and large gatherings.
While the holiday season is just beginning, Halloween weekend seems to have proven the likelihood of this concern.
Several celebrations with many people present were observed in the Kalamazoo area around campus for the holiday.
“We have seen an increase in the number of COVID-19 positive cases here at Sindecuse Health Center and most of them are related to Halloween festivities or large gatherings where risk mitigation precautions were not being followed,” is the comment from Sindecuse Health Center’s Director of Nursing, Jessica Slates.
With this result in mind, many have concerns for what the coming holidays will mean.
WMU is recommending that students stay safe this Thanksgiving and to get tested before heading home. They held a COVID-19 testing event from Monday, Nov. 16 through Thursday, Nov. 19 at Sindecuse Health Center. Students can schedule a test by calling (269) 387-3287.
During a press conference, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also encouraged family members to only make plans with one other household when celebrating Thanksgiving this year. This is to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
In an email to the WMU community, WMU COVID-19 Information also told students to rethink “Friendsgiving” plans this year. As well as limiting movement outside homes to only what is essential.
The CDC has guidelines for ways to celebrate and remain safe for the remainder of the season:
● Limit the number of attendees as much as possible to allow people from different households to remain at least 6 feet apart at all times.
● Host outdoor rather than indoor gatherings as much as possible. Even outdoors, require guests to wear masks when not eating or drinking.
● Guests should avoid direct contact, including handshakes and hugs, with others not from their household.
● Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces and any shared items between use when feasible. Encourage attendees to wash their hands often with soap and water.