By Mekialaya White

DENVER (CBS4) – With Thanksgiving only seven weeks away, it’s time to start making holiday plans this season. COVID-19 is top of mind, yet again, in 2021.

On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued the following guidance on how to safely celebrate on its website:

  • Host a video chat party with family and friends to share in the celebration.
  • Plan a special meal with people who live with you inspired by the holiday or event.
  • Have an outdoor celebration with everyone at least 6 feet apart.
  • Watch virtual events and celebrations.
  • Drive or walk around your community to wave to neighbors from a safe distance.
  • Take a food or gift to family, friends, and neighbors in a way that does not involve contact with others, such as leaving them at the door.
  • Throw a virtual dance party and collaborate with friends and family on a playlist.
  • Celebrate outside with neighbors and friends.
  • Attend a virtual ceremony or celebration.
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However, that webpage was removed just days later, on Monday. The CDC later issued a statement saying, “The page had a technical update… but doesn’t reflect the CDC’s guidance ahead of this holiday season.” The health protection agency plans to revise, then re-release holiday guidance.

(credit: CBS)

The retraction is raising some questions about how to safely plan holiday celebrations, so CBS4’s Mekialaya White asked UCHealth’s Senior Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Control to lend her expertise.

“We’re all tired, no doubt. Everybody would love to just have this be gone,” Barron told White on a Zoom interview. “First and foremost, (we have to) make sure that everybody is vaccinated.”

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Barron says the big difference between this year and last is access to the COVID-19 vaccine, which she says is crucial to get. She advises getting your flu shot as well.

“Both are things that we know will still be circulating in mass during the holiday season.”

Also, some of the primary advice from last year still stands, like staying at home if you’re sick. Breakthrough COVID cases can be mild. “You could have a runny nose and sore throat and think oh, I just have allergies today.”

Barron recommends transparency as well with loved ones.

“Have those conversations with individuals that you’re around or going to be with about vaccination, the importance of it, and make decisions based on your risk factors or your comfort level and be good with it, that way it’s one less thing you have to worry about going forward,” she sad. “And just say, you know, ‘we’re going to have to do a virtual thing or some kind of a hybrid where we are with people who are around us all the time, and then we’ll add in the rest of the family.’ We make some of these choices every year anyway.”

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Her last tip: Be respectful, as mandates change depending on where you may travel.

Mekialaya White