Columbia mayor, Prisma Health urge at-home NYE to fight COVID-19 spread

Updated: Dec. 30, 2020 at 4:58 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin, along with Prisma Health CEO Mike O’Halla and Dr. Rick Scott spoke today in a virtual interview, urging residents of South Carolina to stay home and stay safe this New Year’s Eve to help stop the spread of the virus.

“Enjoy New Year’s Eve at home...enjoy it from the safety at home with your family, and let’s take advantage of technology and watch the virtual Famously Hot Celebration,” Benjamin said.

Since Christmas Day, SCDHEC has confirmed 11,000 new COVID-19 cases in South Carolina, and over 120 new deaths attributed to COVID so the need to be vigilant is more important than ever, O’Halla stressed.

“Frankly, we’re at a situation that is worse right now than we were back in July when we hit our peak,” O’Halla said. “We expect we’re going to get another surge because of Christmas and New Year’s...and that’s going to create some serious challenges.”

With New Year’s Eve on the horizon, the CDC has released new guidelines on how to ring in 2021 safely and keep everyone healthy in your home.

Both the health department and the CDC say that staying home and celebrating with the people you live with or celebrating virtually with loved ones is the safest choice this year.

Consider playing a virtual board game or watching the ball drop over a video call together.

However, if you are going to host or attend a small gathering, you are advised to:

  • Talk with guests ahead of time to set expectations for celebrating together.
  • Limit the number of guests.
  • Keep celebrations outdoors, if possible.
  • If indoors, open windows and doors. Use a window fan to blow air out, which will pull fresh air in through the open windows.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items between use.
  • Have guests bring their own food, drinks, plates, cups, and utensils.
  • Have extra unused masks available for your guests and encourage everyone to wear them inside and outside.
  • Keep background music volume low so guests don’t need to shout.
  • Per regulations, you should maintain a six feet distance from those who live outside of your household.

Also, wear a mask indoors and outdoors at gatherings and wash your hands frequently.

The CDC also reminds everyone that you can spread COVID-19 to others, even if you are asymptomatic.

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