Viral Newz

How to celebrate the holidays with higher flu, COVID, RSV levels


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Many people will be ringing in the holiday season surrounded by friends, family and loved ones. But with colder temperatures in the forecast and higher transmission levels of COVID-19, the flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) circulating, that could make this holiday season riskier for community members.

Austin Public Health recommended everyone get up to date on their COVID-19 primary series and booster shots, along with their flu vaccines. Anyone feeling sick is advised to stay home, with masking strongly recommended for high risk community members.

Right now, community transmission levels are marked “high” in Travis County, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommending people wear masks in healthcare facilities.

Those traveling for the holidays by air are suggested to check with their airlines if any testing, vaccination or related documents are needed. Some state, tribal, local and territorial areas have restrictions in place for masking, proof of vaccination and testing.

Those who have tested positive for COVID are told to not travel and instead isolate. For those who’ve ended an isolation period for a recent confirmed positive COVID case, it’s advised to not travel on public transportation systems if they’re not wearing a high-quality mask or respirator.

Those who’ve recently tested positive but have existed isolation are advised to continue wearing a high-quality mask whenever they’re indoors around others, and to travel in a private vehicle when possible.

People exposed to someone with COVID in the past 10 days are asked to follow CDC guidance, including getting tested a minimum five days after the last exposure. They’re also advised to wear a high-quality mask when traveling on public transportation, while indoors with others and to use a private vehicle, if possible.

Anyone in need of additional COVID testing can place an order through the federal government’s latest round of at-home testing kits available. Those orders can be placed online for free here.


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