Whether it’s church services or family gatherings, Easter Sundays are a time many of us get together to reflect and celebrate. While COVID-19 infection and hospitalization numbers are far better than they were a year ago, the pandemic is not over. In fact, another spike could be on the horizon as new variants spread.

So it’s still important to take steps to keep those who may be vulnerable around you safe.

Dr. David Priest is wearing a white lab coat and smiling into the camera.
Dr. David Priest

Dr. David Priest, Novant Health chief safety, quality and epidemiology officer, understands that these gatherings are important to many. But the more steps we take to protect each other, the better chance we have of staying healthy and protecting those who are more at risk of becoming infected. His advice:

Under the weather?

If you have a fever or cough, just stay home to protect those around you. Many churches are still offering online services.

What about church gatherings?

When we're gathering in large groups, remember that ventilation is important. An outdoor sunrise service with the breeze blowing is safer than worship in a small room with a lot of individuals whose vaccination status that you may or may not know.

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The best protection against COVID-19.

Get Vaccinated.

And family gatherings?

Gathering with family still requires a bit of caution. Meeting outside is still the best option. You may also want to limit hugging and handshakes.

Should we consider masking?

It may be wise to wear a mask indoors, especially if you are at high risk.

Any other advice?

It's vital to know your own individual risk. If you are 25 years old with minimal health problems and you’ve been vaccinated, your risk of complications from COVID is essentially nil. If you’re 80 or have chronic medical problems, then your risk is higher. When deciding whether to go out or not, think about your own risk and the risks of the people around you.

Don’t forget vaccinations.

Fully vaccinated people have the most protection against the virus. If you have completed your vaccine series and gotten a booster, don’t forget to schedule your second booster dose if you are eligible. Details about the availability of a second booster are expected soon, and Novant Health will update its information sites. Healthy Headlines will keep the public in the loop, as well.