For the unvaccinated, Memorial Day weekend still holds many risks
Infectious disease experts are still asking for caution over the weekend.
PADUCAH, KY. (May 28, 2021) — As Memorial Day approaches, many of us are planning for a pre-pandemic style of celebration with parades, family gatherings, and memorial services to honor our fallen veterans.
But infectious disease experts are still asking for caution over the weekend, the unofficial kickoff to summer. Especially if you’re unvaccinated.
Baptist Health Paducah Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brad Housman said it is important to get vaccinated for many reasons, one being it allows families to gather safely for events like holiday celebrations.
Despite the lifting of pandemic restrictions and the lowering of infection rates, COVID-19 is still evident in the community. Housman says the hospital is still seeing numerous patients with the disease. “We still have several COVID inpatients at Baptist Health Paducah and I encourage everyone to get the vaccine.”
If you already had COVID-19 and think you have immunity, you should still get the vaccine, health experts say. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19, because we don’t yet know how long you’re protected from getting sick again.
Dr. Housman also notes the possibility of several known variants. “If you’ve had COVID and get exposed to one of the variants, it’s possible you will be able to get re-infected by the more contagious and more virulent variants, if you’re not vaccinated,” he said.
For those who are unvaccinated, even an outdoor meal at a restaurant can be unsafe if you’re dining with people from multiple households. Crowds at outdoor concerts, parades, or sports events hold even more danger of contracting the virus.
While the CDC has lifted many of its quarantine mandates for fully vaccinated people, it offers the following guidelines for unvaccinated people to lower the risk of contracting COVID-19:
- Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth to help protect yourself and others.
- Stay 6 feet apart from others who don’t live with you.
- Get a COVID-19 vaccine when it is available to you.
- Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water aren’t available.
For more information about where you can get your vaccine, go to Vaccinefinder.org.