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Thinking about a Fourth of July party? Please think again.

 

Parties and social gatherings are among the most common ways people spread COVID-19.

All risks are not created equal.

That wisdom holds true with COVID-19.

Earlier this week, we paused our plans to apply for a modified Phase 2 because our case count numbers are rising quickly. Unfortunately, many of the things you most want to do right now carry the highest risk.

So, as you celebrate this Fourth of July weekend, remember COVID-19 is still widespread in Pierce County. You can celebrate safely, but a party with more than 5 people is not a good way to do it.

Party Pug

This is not the time to party.

I love my friends. I love my family. And I LOVE a good party.

But now is not the time. My daily work with the case and contact investigation team has taught me parties are among the most common ways people transmit COVID-19. I see it, daily, as our case counts continue to rise.

You might be planning to host or attend a party for the Fourth of July. Please don’t.

You don’t want to look back at this weekend and regret your decisions the way other groups of partiers are doing right now.

One fun night can become a weeks-long nightmare.

We learned recently of a party young people in Pierce County attended. Though they gathered outside, they didn’t follow physical distancing guidelines.

And far more than the limit of 5 people attended. This greatly increases the chance that a gathering can spread disease to many more people.

It’s simple math. Limiting gatherings to only 5 people outside of your household helps to limit the spread of disease. If someone spreads COVID-19 within a gathering of 5 people, then those 5 people and their contacts are the circle of people we will need to contact to see if they need to isolate or get tested.

When you gather with say—30 or 50 people—and someone had COVID-19, then all those people, and all their contacts, are potentially at risk of contracting COVID-19.

We get it. It’s hard to socially distance at a party. That’s why we’re asking everyone to skip the party this year. Let’s focus on keeping everyone healthy for next year’s party.

At least one person who attended the local party had COVID-19 but didn’t yet know it because the person wasn’t showing symptoms. Many who were at the party have since tested positive.

We’ve asked everyone who came in contact with those who were ill to get tested and quarantine at home for 14 days. And we reached out to the close contacts of those new positive cases and asked them to quarantine as well.

One night of fun turned into massive disruption for some people and a potentially fatal illness for others.

Levels of risk.

We all miss our normal lives. We might feel like we want to make up for lost time.

Be honest: Do parties bring out your most hygienic side? Do you really stay 6 feet away from people at large gatherings?

When I’m at a party, I’ve been known to hug people, lick food off my fingers, maybe share a drink with a friend. Usually, I’m standing close to several people and chatting.

Old habits die hard, and all these behaviors put you at high risk of COVID-19.

COVID-19 affects every geographic area of our community, all age groups and all ethnic groups. Traffic and cellphone mobility are up. This tells us people are going out and about, getting exposed and exposing others. It might be at work, at a social gathering, in a recreation setting, in a business, or at a demonstration.

COVID-19 can spread anytime and anywhere people gather, even if the infected person does not feel sick.

And when people don’t use face coverings, don’t physically distance, and don’t stay home when they are sick, more people get COVID-19.

Celebrate safely.

Don’t despair! You don’t have to sit on the couch by yourself on the Fourth of July.

Phase 2 of Gov. Inslee’s Safe Start allows you to choose five friends or non-household members you would also like to see regularly. Plan to celebrate with that group. You can also check out our ideas for summer fun.

Now is the time to improve our numbers. We need everyone to do their part.

If you are not doing it already, wear a face covering when in public and not able to maintain physical distance of 6 feet from others. You can also:

  • Stay close to home.
  • Get tested for COVID-19 if you have participated in any large gatherings.
  • Wash your hands, cover your cough, and keep up your best hygiene and sanitation.

Subscribe to this blog and check tpchd.org/coronavirus for the latest information on COVID-19 in Pierce County.