Tuesday, December 7, 2021 San Juan Regional Medical Center Urges COVID-19 Holiday Safety

The holiday season is here. It’s a time when we come together with family and friends to share in our beliefs and traditions and celebrate the joy of the season. This year is different – we once again face record breaking numbers of COVID cases in San Juan County. Hospitalizations have skyrocketed and healthcare resources are limited. The pandemic is far from over and now, more than ever, is a time to stay safe. 

                We call on our community members to do all you can to limit your individual exposure to COVID-19. Protect your family and friends!

                “As a community owned and operated hospital, the health and safety of our friends, neighbors and community is important to us,” said Jeff Bourgeois, President and CEO of San Juan Regional Medical Center. “Our caregivers are doing everything they can to make sure they are here for you. We ask that you help. Take action to preserve the health and safety of your loved ones and avoid a preventable hospitalization.” 

                The safest way to prevent COVID-19 transmission is to refrain from holiday travel as well as attending and hosting gatherings. If that is not possible, here are some tips to help you add layers of protection to your holidays. 

                1. Gather with groups of vaccinated individuals. Encourage others to get vaccinations or boosters if they are eligible. 

                “The COVID-19 vaccines are working. Even if you get COVID, the likelihood of your illness resulting in hospitalization, an ICU stay, or death is extraordinarily low. So, there’s very high value to getting vaccinated,” said Dr. Brad Greenberg, Emergency Medicine Physician and Director of Emergency Preparedness at San Juan Regional Medical Center.

               2. Continue to follow COVID-safe practices, endorsed by the CDC, that are proven to work. 

  • Wear a mask in public indoor settings
  • Be sure to perform good hand washing
  • Avoid crowded areas and appropriately social distance 
  • Gather outdoors if you’re able

                “Remember that the vaccine is not a cure-all. It doesn’t fix all the problems, you have to continue important COVID-safe practices,” said Dr. Greenberg.

               3. Stay home if you’re sick.   

                4. Get tested before your holiday gathering.

  • PCR tests produce the most accurate results but may take a few days. Plan ahead.             
  • Rapid antigen tests can be purchased over the counter with results in minutes. They aren’t as sensitive as PCR tests, which could mean false negatives. 

                5. Delay travel if you are not fully vaccinated, as recommended by the CDC. 

                 We are all in this together. Let’s support each other, enjoy the holidays and make it through this current wave of COVID-19 as safely as possible. We are doing everything we can to keep our caregivers safe, and we need the commitment and dedication of each of you to make it work. 

                Your decisions and diligence around COVID-safe practices will help minimize the spread of the disease and ultimately can save lives. So please, take action to preserve the health and safety of your family, friends, coworkers, and community this holiday season.

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