Massachusetts residents and business owners can breathe more easily as more COVID-19 restrictions are lifted this Memorial Day weekend. But what precautions should we still be taking? We must continue to do our part by taking care of ourselves and others to avoid going back to where we were this time last year. Debbie Lyn Toomey, MSN, RN, Injury Prevention Coordinator and Shira Doron, MD, Hospital Epidemiologist and Infectious Disease Physician share how to stay cautious but enjoy your Memorial Day weekend.
Beginning Saturday, May 29th, the state of Massachusetts is planning to lift all COVID-19 restrictions, including face masks. The number of cases statewide have drastically decreased over the last few months, thanks to the vaccine. By the time the order goes into effect, Dr. Doron believes it will be safer than it has ever been since the pandemic began to be out and about, even for those who are unvaccinated or vulnerable and even if not all unvaccinated people wear their masks. You mask protects you and others, so if you are unvaccinated or severely immunocompromised*, until case rates drop even lower, it is recommended that you wear a mask in indoor public places.
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Masks will be required for interstate travel for some time. If you are vaccinated and not severely immunocompromised, you can feel safe traveling. For those not fully protected from vaccination, until case rates drop further, make sure you are wearing a well-fitting, multi-layer masks to protect yourself.
One of the most effective and easiest ways to protect ourselves from getting sick is through good old fashion handwashing. Here are four important facts about handwashing according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Lather up – Wash all areas of your hands for 20 seconds to remove harmful germs and chemicals. Don’t forget to clean under your nails.
Hand sanitizer – While soap and running water are ideal for cleaning your hands, hand sanitizers are recommended until you have access to an area that has soap and running water. If you have any young children in your household, keep hand sanitizer gels or solutions away from their reach to avoid accidental poisoning.
How often? Before and after doing any activities are prime times to wash your hands. Other times that are worth noting are after touching a pet, blowing your nose, covering your mouth due to coughing or sneezing, etc. If in doubt, wash your hands.
As our state continue to lessen its COVID-19 restriction, it is important to wash your hands to help you and those around you stay healthy.
*Examples include recipients of organ or bone marrow transplant, or receiving chemotherapy. Speak to your doctor about whether this applies to you