FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 19, 2021
Recipe for a Safer Thanksgiving
SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – Holiday traditions are important for families, friends, and children. Because many generations tend to gather to celebrate holidays, the best way to minimize COVID-19 risk and keep your family and friends safer is to get vaccinated if you’re eligible. With a little advanced planning, there are several ways to enjoy holiday traditions and protect your health.
Before the gathering
- Review the guest list. Are there people who may be in a high risk category, including young children who are not yet eligible for vaccination? Do you know whether other guests are vaccinated or not? If you don’t know, it’s important to ask so you can plan accordingly.
- Plan ahead. If there are multiple unvaccinated households, or any households that have unvaccinated people at high-risk of severe COVID-19 illness, the safest option is to gather virtually. If you decide to gather in person, be really clear with friends and family about how you will make safety a priority when spending time together. View a sample conversation guide.
- Travel safely. If you’re planning to travel to gather with family or friends, please follow CDC travel guidance. Be aware if you’re traveling to an area with high COVID-19 transmission, you’ll want to be extra vigilant with wearing a mask and staying 6 feet apart from others in public.
- Take it outside or bring the outside in. Outdoor gatherings are much safer than indoor ones. If you must be indoors, choose a location that is well ventilated, such as a room with open windows.
- Keep it small and short. The smaller the better when gathering with people outside of your household. Shorter periods of time give COVID-19 less chance to spread. Shorter gatherings also make it easier to keep hands and surfaces properly sanitized.
- Consider the children. Kids may have trouble staying six feet apart, so wearing masks and washing hands are important. Remember: kids under 2 should never wear masks! If your family member is younger than 2 years old or cannot wear a mask, limit visits with people who are not vaccinated or whose vaccination status is unknown.
- Do a health check. Ask if anyone has had symptoms such as cough, fever or shortness of breath, in the last 2 weeks. Ask guests to check their temperature before arriving. Anyone with a fever—or who has had other symptoms or knows they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 within the last two weeks—should stay home.
- Get tested. Whether vaccinated or not, you can decrease the risk of infection by getting tested 72 hours before the gathering. At home tests can be completed the day of the event. Even with a negative test, it’s important to still follow the other safety precautions shared on this page.
- Add WA Notify to your smartphone. This will alert you if you may have been exposed to COVID-19 and anonymously alert others if you test positive. WA Notify is completely private and doesn't know who you are or track where you go.
During the gathering
- Wear masks. If you’re gathering indoors with people outside of your household, it’s recommended that everyone wear face coverings, unless most attendees are fully vaccinated. Have extra masks on hand if people forget.
- Wash hands. If there is no access to a sink, provide hand sanitizer.
- Watch distance and limit close contact. Where possible stay 6 feet apart, especially among people at high risk for severe COVID-19 or who are not yet fully vaccinated.
- Open windows. Keep windows open in rooms where people will gather to allow for proper ventilation.
- Clean. Disinfect frequently used surfaces before, during and after the gathering.
After the gathering
- Wash hands (again). Wash for 20 seconds with soap and water.
- Sanitize. Clean all surfaces that may have been touched by guests such as tabletops, counters, doorknobs and bathroom fixtures, with soap and water first, and then a disinfecting agent.
- Get tested…again. If you traveled or were around a number of people outside your household, it’s a good idea to do another test before returning to school or work after the holiday. Continue to watch for symptoms. If you develop any symptoms, get tested. Alert others at the gathering if there’s a positive test among anyone in attendance. Learn more about what to do if you’ve been exposed.
By working together, we can enjoy safer holidays, travel, and protect our own health as well as the health of our family and friends.
HOLIDAY SCHEDULE FOR DISTRICT COVID TESTING and vaccine clinicS
The Snohomish Health District, call center, and most sites will be closed on Thursday, Nov. 25 and Friday, Nov. 26 in observance of the Thanksgiving weekend. Only the Everett testing site will be open on Friday.
The full schedule for next week is as follows:
- Testing at Everett site located at 3715 Oakes Avenue – Monday through Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- The Ash Way Park & Ride location at 16327 Ash Way in Lynnwood will be offering vaccines only (12+) on Wednesday, Nov. 24. Testing at the Ash Way Park & Ride site will be available Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Appointments for testing are available at www.snohd.org/testing and vaccine appointments at www.snohd.org/drivethru.
Those without internet access, needing language assistance, or requiring additional support in scheduling can reach the Health District’s call center at 425.339.5278 to schedule a testing or vaccine appointment. Callers after hours or on holidays or weekends can leave a message, which will be returned on the next business day.