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COVID-19 numbers soar in midst of holidays

COVID-19 cases are inching back up.

Lowndes County has had 42 positive cases in the last 14 days and 143 were tested.

Statewide, nearly 30,000 cases have been added in the last 14 days.

There were 1,302 new confirmed cases added Monday. There have been 3,165 confirmed deaths statewide.

Dr. Scott Harris, state health officer, said Monday, “This is a time for people to be vigilant, this is a time to be careful and to be thinking about what you’re doing.”

The state has encouraged that families do not gather in groups of more than 10 to help limit the potential spread of COVID-19.

Earlier this month, Gov. Kay Ivey extended the state’s mask order until Dec. 11.

CDC offers the following considerations to slow the spread of COVID-19 during small gatherings. These considerations are meant to supplement—not replace—any state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations with which all gatherings must comply.

Celebrating virtually or with members of your own household (who are consistently taking measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19) poses the lowest risk for spread. Your household is anyone who currently lives and shares common spaces in your housing unit (such as your house or apartment). This can include family members, as well as roommates or people who are unrelated to you. People who do not currently live in your housing unit, such as college students who are returning home from school for the holidays, should be considered part of different households. In-person gatherings that bring together family members or friends from different households, including college students returning home, pose varying levels of risk.

Organizers and attendees of larger events should consider the risk of virus spread based on event size (number of attendees and other factors) and take steps to reduce the possibility of infection, as outlined in the Considerations for Events and Gatherings.

Several factors can contribute to the risk of getting and spreading COVID-19 at small in-person gatherings. In combination, these factors will create various amounts of risk:

Community levels of COVID-19 – High or increasing levels of COVID-19 cases in the gathering location, as well as in the areas where attendees are coming from, increase the risk of infection and spread among attendees. Family and friends should consider the number of COVID-19 cases in their community and in the community where they plan to celebrate when deciding whether to host or attend a gathering. Information on the number of cases in an area can often be found on the local health department website.

Exposure during travel – Airports, bus stations, train stations, public transport, gas stations, and rest stops are all places travelers can be exposed to the virus in the air and on surfaces.

Location of the gathering – Indoor gatherings, especially those with poor ventilation (for example, small enclosed spaces with no outside air), pose more risk than outdoor gatherings.

Duration of the gathering – Gatherings that last longer pose more risk than shorter gatherings. Being within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more greatly increases the risk of becoming sick and requires a 14-day quarantine.

Number and crowding of people at the gathering – Gatherings with more people pose more risk than gatherings with fewer people. CDC does not have a limit or recommend a specific number of attendees for gatherings. The size of a holiday gathering should be determined based on the ability of attendees from different households to stay 6 feet (2 arm lengths) apart, wear masks, wash hands, and follow state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations.

Behaviors of attendees prior to the gathering – Individuals who did not consistently adhere to social distancing (staying at least 6 feet apart), mask wearing, handwashing, and other prevention behaviors pose more risk than those who consistently practiced these safety measures.

Behaviors of attendees during the gathering – Gatherings with more safety measures in place, such as mask wearing, social distancing, and handwashing, pose less risk than gatherings where fewer or no preventive measures are being implemented. Use of alcohol or drugs may alter judgment and make it more difficult to practice COVID-19 safety measures.