Residential care facilities follow strict guidelines, rules and regulations which will help keep residents safe and healthy. But after a long, isolated time during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are still many questions about what safety precautions are necessary. What are some sensible guidelines for getting out into daily life now that many have had vaccines?
Who is Still at Risk?
It continues to be wise to use extra care if you have an immune-deficiency condition, have recently had or are having chemotherapy, or if you are an older citizen. Washing hands is still a great idea, and if you have any doubts about the health of others you might gather with, stay away. Some people, those with certain health conditions or young children, cannot be vaccinated. Others may choose not to be. There are still risks of transmission of the COVID-19 virus and its variations, but conditions are improving.
Am I Safe from the Virus?
As of two weeks after your final vaccination (some come in two doses, some in one), the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that it is safe for you to be in an indoor group of people who have all been vaccinated, without having to wear a mask. An extended-family dinner or birthday party is considered fine in this scenario. Say hello to your family and friends again. Game night is on!
What Advice Do Professionals Give?
Health-care professionals, from the CDC to emergency care nurses, still advise that the best way to stay well is to get vaccinated. Keep wearing a mask in crowded conditions. If the option is available, choose patio seating instead of a crowded restaurant. Avoid huge crowds, concerts, movie theatres. Stay out of unventilated buildings. There is no situation in which there is no risk, but after having a vaccine, your life can begin to open up again.
Whom Can I Trust?
With many rumors and media articles giving out conflicting theories it's hard to know what is right or wrong, but consulting your Primary Care Physician is always the best idea. With their help, you can make well-informed personal decisions about your health care. Your own experiences from the past (such as living through the polio epidemic or hearing stories of epidemics) should inform your fact-gathering.
Above all, be patient as institutions and services open up to the public again. Be kind with care-givers and health-care workers who have been on the front lines during the pandemic. Working together, with a smile and some thoughtfulness, is great medicine!