Thursday November 19, 2020

Supporting a healthy and safe holiday season

Earlier this week, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services issued its first COVID-19 County Alert System report, which ranked Cabarrus as having “substantial community spread.”

The rankings are determined using a combination of case rate, percentage of positive tests and hospital impact within the county.

The Virtual Holiday Celebration is one way local leaders are managing the balance between holiday tradition and public health concerns.

Local government agencies have modified tree lightings, visits with Santa Claus and other special holiday activities to meet state and federal recommendations.

Still, officials realize that individuals will ultimately need to make their own decisions about private holiday gatherings.

No matter how many people gather, if families spend 15 minutes or more together over a 24-hour period—masks on or off—they are at greater risk of transmission. Symptoms may appear anytime up to 14 days after the event.

“Making the decision to stay home or stay six feet apart is a difficult one to make, but it could set the course for your entire holiday season,” said Cabarrus Health Alliance Director Dr. Bonnie Coyle. “One sick employee could have a major impact on local businesses—not so much over the holiday weekend, but in the days and weeks that follow.”

The Cabarrus Health Alliance issued these tips for residents to consider:

  1. A negative test is not a free pass.
    A COVID-19 test does not eliminate risk; it measures your status at a point in time. Continue to practice your 3 W’s—especially when around those outside of your immediate household or bubble.
  2. If you test positive (or have been exposed to someone who is positive) stay home and follow your quarantine directions.
    If you have reason to test, quarantine until you receive your results.
  3. Smaller is be­tter, but not a guarantee.

It is discouraged to have Thanksgiving with family or friends who are not part of your immediate household or bubble. The size of a gathering has no impact on transmission; however, it can limit the number of people affected. If you attend a gathering, let other guests know the level of interaction with which you’re most comfortable.

For more information on COVID-19 in Cabarrus County—including suggestions for lower risk holiday activities—visit or


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