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Health over the holidays: How health officials believe you can have a safe and Merry Christmas

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Published: Dec. 21, 2021 at 5:41 PM EST
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(WBNG) -- After a holiday season last year where gatherings were restricted, officials expect people to be better able to spend time with the people they love; they just hope they’ll do so safely.

Several Southern Tier health officials told 12 News Tuesday people need to take into account their own individual risk factors, as well as the risk factors of the people they’re gathering with when determining what health measures to take.

Isaiah Sutton, the man largely behind Chenango County’s COVID operation, said it’ll be up to you and your family whether people should get tested before gathering.

“If you have a lot of risk factors, whether it be a medical condition, age, sensitivity, if you’re unvaccinated, those folks need to take the most steps to protect themselves,” Sutton said. “Generally, it’s very important people follow all the best practices we’ve been talking about for the last two years.”

Both Sutton and his Tioga County counterpart Kylie Holochak emphasized the need to continue washing hands frequently and wearing masks in crowded areas.

Holochak added while cases are already on the rise, they will likely stay that way.

“We’re anticipating a lot of people are going to be gathering this year for Christmas; a lot of people might have missed traveling last year, spending time with their family,” she said. “We do anticipate another spike here following the holiday.”

During her visit to the state-run vaccination and testing site at the former Davis College Monday, Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) said she believes anyone who has the ability to get tested before a gathering should do so.

Lastly, Sutton and Holochak both mentioned it’s important to monitor for any potential symptoms both in the few days leading up to Christmas and New Year’s, but also in the next couple weeks after; they add if you have any symptoms at all, even mild ones, please avoid gatherings and get tested.