Vandalia Leader

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Posted on Monday, November 16, 2020 at 11:17 am

(MEXICO) – Audrain County continues to see record numbers of new COVID-19 cases and because of this, the Audrain County Health Department is urging residents to take extra precautions this Thanksgiving holiday.

“The Audrain County Health Department (ACHD) is urging county residents to do everything possible to stop the spread and reduce the rise of COVID-19 cases in the county,” stated ACHD Administrator/CEO Craig Brace.

“Informal gatherings among friends and families are contributing to the high number of COVID cases in our county. Keep your loved ones safe by minimizing contact with people you do not live with.”

Brace urged that residents adapt Thanksgiving traditions this year by planning to celebrate, not congregate.
He pointed to these ways of keeping your risk of exposure down but still being able to celebrate Thanksgiving this year:

• Limit your exposure as much as possible in the days leading up to Thanksgiving.
• Gather only with those in your household, if possible.
• Refrain from close contact like hugging and kissing with individuals outside your immediate household.
• Wear masks over your nose and mouth when you are not eating.
• Have one person serve the food to stop the spread of germs on frequently touched surfaces.
• Stay home as much as possible. Limit your outings to only necessary trips.
• Use curbside pickup instead of eating indoors.
• Wash your hands frequently, with soap, for at least 20 seconds.
• Avoid touching your face.
• Stay home if you or anyone in your home is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

Brace says it is also extremely important to remember that getting the flu vaccine is especially important this year.
“The flu is a vaccine-preventable illness, but still hospitalizes thousands of people each year,” Brace said. “We need to prevent unnecessary hospitalizations to reduce the pressure on the healthcare system. The flu vaccine protects you and the people around you. As more people are vaccinated, it becomes harder for the flu to spread.”

The flu and COVID-19 can have similar symptoms. By preventing the spread of flu, we can decrease the number of people who need to be quarantined or isolated for these symptoms.

“It is not too late to get your flu shot,” Brace concluded. “Residents can come to the ACHD Monday through Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. with no appointment needed. Thursday, they can come from 8 a.m. to noon. We accept most major insurances as well.”

As a reminder, the ACHD will be closed beginning Wednesday, November 25th at noon and will be
closed through Monday, November 30th at 8 a.m. for the Thanksgiving holiday. If you have any questions concerning COVID-19 during this time, please call the Department of Health and Senior Services COVID-19 hotline at 1-877-435-8411 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.