Doctors optimistic but encourage caution when it comes to COVID as holidays approach

Published: Oct. 7, 2021 at 5:34 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - As the holiday season approaches, doctors are weighing in on how to keep your family safe from the coronavirus.

With the next three months including Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, local doctors said it’s still important to be careful when it comes to COVID. However, a lot has changed since the 2020 holiday season.

“We’re really not as compulsive about wiping down all the surfaces, because we’ve seen that that doesn’t really cause much transmissible disease even with the covid variant,” said Dr. Gerald Harmon with Tidelands Health.

The biggest change since last year is the widespread availability of the vaccine, which doctors said will be a huge help through the 2021 holiday season.

“Vaccine really wasn’t available at this time last year, so now we’ve got vaccine available and right at this moment, plenty of vaccine,” Dr. Paul Richardson with Conway Medical Center said.

Doctors said the vaccine means people can gather with less fear of spreading COVID. However, since breakthrough cases are still happening, doctors said it’s important not to completely get rid of other precautions.

“If you’re sick, if you’re having symptoms, don’t go around other people,” Richardson said. “That’s thing number one. Make sure you’re practicing good hand hygiene, this kind of thing. These are the things that I am a big, huge fan of.”

Harmon said COVID-19 cases at Tidelands Health have dropped significantly over the last few weeks.

Heading into the holiday season, that gives him hope he didn’t have before then.

“I do think now I’m sensing an uptick in positivity that may not have been there two or three weeks ago, so I am optimistic,” Harmon said.

Doctors said if you’ve been on the fence about getting vaccinated, now is a good time to do so, so you can be fully vaccinated by the time Thanksgiving and Christmas come around.

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