Health officials urge residents to celebrate safely, avoid gatherings on holiday weekend

–Local health officials are urging residents to continue COVID-19 safety precautions and avoid gatherings this holiday weekend to prevent a local surge in COVID-19 cases.

COVID-19 infections in San Luis Obispo County have consistently surged two to three weeks after holidays when families and small groups traditionally gather, according to the health department.

“We all need to do our part to protect our loved ones and keep our community moving forward on the path toward greater reopening,” said Dr. Penny Borenstein, county health officer. “Soon we will be able to gather with family and friends, but we are not there yet. Until more in our community are fully vaccinated, even small family and friend gatherings can fuel the transmission of the virus here in SLO County.”

The safest way to celebrate Easter this year is to spend time with people in the same household or to celebrate virtually, the health department says. This could include preparing and delivering traditional holiday meals to friends and family in other households, especially those at a higher risk of severe COVID-19 illness, by leaving items at their door.

Officials urge residents who choose to gather to do so responsibly, like a “B.O.S.S.,” by keeping social gatherings brief, outside, small, and symptom-free. Current state guidance limits gatherings to three households or fewer. Individuals should take precautions during the gathering, including maintaining physical distance, frequently washing hands, and wearing a face covering. With cases increasing again in some parts of the county, please stay local.

Reducing local cases will allow the county to continue to move forward with reopening under the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy. If case counts surge, the community could fall back to the more restrictive purple tier, which would result in increased restrictions on local businesses and community activities.

For updates on COVID-19 in SLO County, visit ReadySLO.org or call the recorded Public Health Information Line at (805) 788–2903. A staffed phone assistance center at (805) 543–2444 is available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to assist with COVID-19 questions.

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