We made a video inspired by the 8 tips shared by the Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association on staying safe these holidays and helping reduce the risk of COVID transmission.
8 tips to reduce COVID-19 risk
Maintain hand hygiene
The easiest way to avoid transferring viruses from your hands to your shared Christmas feast is to ensure you wash or sanitise your hands regularly. If you have guests over, have enough hand sanitiser and hand soap.
Practice respiratory etiquette
Cough or sneeze into your elbow rather than your hand or tissue, followed by sanitising your hands afterwards.
Don’t show up if you have symptoms
If you’re expecting guests, make clear they shouldn’t attend if experiencing signs and symptoms of COVID. Keep a record of who came to the event if contact tracing is required.
Weather and circumstances permitting, have your event outdoors. Being outside dramatically reduces the risk of transmission, as the breeze can disperse infectious particles. Evidence suggests transmission is almost 19 times more likely indoors than outdoors. Ultraviolet B in amounts found naturally in sunlight also rapidly inactivates the virus on surfaces. It damages the viral genetic material making it harder to replicate.
If you must hold your event indoors, ensure the best possible ventilation by opening doors and windows. Also, consider portable air filters with HEPA filtration, removing infectious particles from the air.
Consider high-risk people
You might want to consider separating people at high risk from infection from others in space or time. For example, relatives and friends at high risk might sit at a greater distance from everyone else who may be getting out and about more and might have an infection that isn’t yet symptomatic. You might also choose to separate visitors by time.
Ask guests to be fully vaccinated
If your guests are fully vaccinated, it will be safer for everyone. First, fully vaccinated people are less likely to contract COVID because the vaccine can help their body produce neutralising antibodies. Second, the vaccine triggers other responses from our immune system that reduce the overall viral load. If infected, a vaccinated person will likely have lower amounts of virus in their nose, mouth, and throat throughout their illness and shed less virus for a shorter time. That makes it less likely they’ll infect someone else.
Use rapid antigen tests
You might also want to consider rapid antigen self-testing to reduce the risk for everyone. Before coming to your event, you could ask all guests to take one and receive a negative result. These don’t guarantee any infections but provide an added layer of protection.