Going home for the holidays? Experts say you should consider risks when gathering with family

How to safely organize holiday gatherings
Published: Dec. 8, 2021 at 6:34 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - There’s no place like home for the holidays, but is being home the safest place to be during our second pandemic holiday season?

Dec. 8, 2021: Coronavirus Report: Michigan reports 15,385 new cases, 351 deaths over past two days

Residents of East Lansing said it’s a tough decision to make, especially when family members have concerns.

Brent Cohen, of East Lansing, said for his family, some members are worried about the vaccination status of family members.

“Everybody in my family who was vaccinated is kind of worried about being around people who are unvaccinated but the people who are unvaccinated in my family are not worried about anything,” said Cohen.

However, for those whose families are fully vaccinated -- like East Lansing resident Isaac Gollapalli -- the decision is less complicated.

“The older people in my family they are. My grandparents are super concerned but when my family got vaccinated they were like alright cool we’ll see you guys at Christmas,” said Gollapalli.

Whether traveling to see family or having family over many have some difficult decisions to make. Experts said the risks should be considered. Dr. Paul Entler, of Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, said that the vaccination of all parties is important.

“I’m potentially thinking about traveling, so I’m looking at where I’m coming from and where I’m going. Any potential travel advisory’s -- what do the COVID numbers look like. And then obviously with those I’m around -- it’s always a sensitive subject but vaccination status is important.” said Dr. Entler.

Experts recommend that unvaccinated groups and groups with immunocompromised members get tested 1 to 3 days before gathering. They should also consider wearing masks and limiting their group size.

Those in a mixed group of vaccinated and unvaccinated should consider getting tested and social distance when possible.

Parties with fully vaccinated people should consider taking antibody tests.

“The vaccines aren’t 100% but the reason we got the vaccine was to help get us out of the pandemic so we could gather, so I think just making sure you wash your hands. I would probably avoid a very very large gathering but again trying to do it safely,” said Dr. Entler.

But Dr. Entler said people should gather even if they have to change the way they do so.

“If you happen to have somebody that’s not vaccinated coming in. Testing is always an option as well maybe 1 to three days beforehand just to be safe. And again nothing is 100%, but I think people need to be around each other.”

If you’re considering gathering with family this holiday and want some alternative options to make the holidays special click here.

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