Avoiding COVID-19 During Spring Break

INDIANAPOLIS — Almost all of Indiana is getting the green light from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The latest color-coded map from the CDC shows all but 10 counties in Hoosier State are in the low-risk green category — signaling low transmission of COVID-19.

“Our numbers are dramatically different thanks to the vaccination and public health advice we’ve been following for the past few years,” said Shandy Dearth, director of the Center for Public Health Practice at the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health.

Dearth said given the minimal spread of COVID-19 in the United States, including here in Indiana, Hoosiers can breathe easier during spring break.

“I think we’re definitely turning the corner, but we just have to keep all of those lessons learned in our pocket and be ready to use them when needed,” Dearth said.

On March 14, Indiana state health officials added 137 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and the state’s positivity rate fell to 2.9%.

Dearth said that although the numbers continue to drop, the virus is still in our community.

“[The virus] is still there, but the risk is, you know, better for us at this point,” Dearth said. “I encourage you to check out this CDC transmission map that shows levels by county across the United States”

Dearth said if you check the CDC map and are going to an area with high transmission, consider limiting your time indoors and in crowded spaces. She recommended that all Hoosiers, especially those considered high risk, use a drive-thru, spend time outdoors as much as possible and bring a mask.

“We all deserve spring break, so don’t ruin your vacation. Go ahead and keep the extra layer of protection,” Dearth said. “I know the CDC says you really only need to keep the mask on if you’re going through a high level of transmission, but then again, why risk it?”

Earlier this month, the Transportation Security Administration extended the mask requirement on airplanes and public transportation by one month, until mid-April. The warrant was due to expire on March 18 before federal officials extended the requirement until April 18.

“I’m happy that [the mask mandate] will be there,” Dearth said. “If you think of an airport, you are there with a lot of people from all over the world and you don’t know anyone’s vaccination status. So I wouldn’t necessarily rely on one airport as being representative of everything you see on this map at the county level. So go ahead, protect yourself and keep the mask on.

Dearth said those who are both vaccinated against COVID-19 and boosted are considered the least at risk of catching the virus.

According to state health officials, staying up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations significantly reduces the risk of serious illness and even death. A social media post from the Indiana Department of Health on Facebook reads:

Spring break is right around the corner, and for many that means traveling for the holidays.

Millions of people in the United States are still missing out on the protection afforded by #COVID19 vaccines, either because they are unvaccinated or not up to date on their vaccines. Compared to vaccinated and boosted people, unvaccinated people are 3 times more likely to contract COVID, 9 times more likely to need hospital care and 41 times more likely to die from it. Help spread the word about the importance of getting vaccinated and staying up to date with your vaccines.

Make sure you’re ready for fun and relaxation by taking simple steps to protect yourself from COVID. Find vaccines and boosters near you at vaccines.gov. #We can do it

Indiana Department of Health

“If you’re eligible for a booster and you’ve done everything you’re in a much better place,” said Dr. Christopher Belcher, medical director of infection control at Ascension St. Vincent’s Hospital in Indianapolis. .

Dr Belcher said while fully vaccinated Hoosiers can breathe a sigh of relief knowing they are better protected against the virus, he doesn’t think anyone should let their guard down completely.

“When people are eating, singing, coughing, sneezing, those are all bad signs and you want to protect yourself,” Dr Belcher said.

Dr Belcher said families should take extra precautions if traveling with unvaccinated children, especially those under the age of five. To date, vaccines for children under five have not received FDA approval.

” There is a risk [kids] take [the virus] so, you know, put them in good outdoor environments. I’d rather they play outside in the playground than inside a building,” Dr. Belcher said. “Just kind of be prepared. Prepare your hand sanitizer.

“I’m not expecting a huge bump after spring break this year,” Dearth said. “We may be expecting a small bump after the trip, but last year we saw a much bigger bump.”

To see the CDC’s community transmission levels of COVID-19 across the United States, click here.

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