Home for the Holidays

Public health officials recommend us to keep family gatherings to our immediate household. It is the safest way to celebrate this year.

Most of us look forward to family gatherings around the holidays. This year, we might even be missing that annoying relative from out of state. But a recent Boston Globe article featuring CHA's Dr. Lou Ann Bruno-Murtha says "we all need to fight the urge to become complacent."


You can protect others:

Do not attend in-person events if you or anyone in your home:

  • Has COVID-19 and has not finished the proper isolation period
  • Has symptoms of COVID-19 or is waiting for a COVID-19 test result
  • May have been exposed to COVID-19 in the prior 14 days
  • Is at risk of getting sick or having a severe illness related to COVID-19

And celebrate safely:

  • Celebrate the holidays virtually with older relatives and those at higher risk
  • Have online visits to help everyone feel less isolated
  • If relatives are nearby, you can make some food and drop it off using social distancing -- that will let everyone enjoy the same traditional foods at the same time
  • Keep in-person celebrations to immediate family



Here’s why:

  • COVID-19 rates are rising across the country and we are starting to see a second surge in Massachusetts. As the pandemic wears on, people just want it to go away. This can lead to people being less careful and more people getting sick.
  • We’re heading into flu season, which could burden an already stretched healthcare system. (Get a flu shot).
  • Gathering indoors is risky. It’s harder to stay six feet apart and air flow is more stagnant, increasing risk of transmissions.
  • Interstate travel can spread the disease. Staying at home is the safest and best way to protect yourself and others.

Public health officials recommend us to keep family gatherings to our immediate household. It is the safest way to celebrate this year.

If you are determined to get together with extended family or a larger group, you should take precautions. "Everyone must be respectful and accountable for wearing the correct mask (no valves, gaiters or bandanas), staying 6 feet apart and regularly washing hands in order to prevent disease," explained Dr. Bruno-Murtha. "We especially have an ethical obligation to protect older adults and individuals at greater risk."

We should also follow statewide interstate travel restrictions, gathering size restrictions and review expert advice like holiday guidelines from the CDC.

It’s understandable to want to get together with family and friends, but we’re not there yet. Remember, this is serious. If an exposure happens, it can kill someone.

So let’s be careful this year to make sure everyone will be there for next year’s celebrations.

Cambridge Health Alliance

Contributed By: Cambridge Health Alliance

Cambridge Health Alliance is an academic community health care system committed to serving all members of our communities. We have expertise in primary care, mental health and substance abuse, and caring for diverse and complex populations. CHA patients receive high quality care in convenient neighborhood locations, and have seamless access to advanced care through CHA’s affiliation with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. With over 140,000 patients in Cambridge, Somerville Everett and Boston’s Metro North, CHA is working hard to offer the integrated services its communities need now, and in the future.