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Test before holiday gatherings

Alicia Colombo

With news of a possible winter surge in COVID-19 infections, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) shares the following information to help keep you and any higher-risk family or friends safer during the holidays.

Watch for symptoms
The most common symptoms from the Omicron variant have been sore throat, congestion (runny nose), coughing, fatigue, headaches and muscle pain. Loss of taste and smell is less common than it was in the early stages of the pandemic. If you develop these symptoms, take a COVID-19 test.

Stay home when sick
If you test positive, or don’t test but have symptoms of COVID-19, you should isolate at home for at least five days to avoid getting anyone else sick.

Get the updated booster
There’s still time before the holidays to get the updated booster shot that can help to ward off infection and contain the impacts of the Omicron B variants. The booster reduces your chances of getting COVID-19, and, if you do, it can greatly reduce the number of days you’ll be sick.

Test before you celebrate
Taking a COVID-19 test the day of a gathering can help keep everyone healthy. If you have a stockpile of tests, test 48 hours prior to any gathering, in addition to the day of the event.

Consider a mini-quarantine
Take a pre-holiday buffer to help protect yourself and those you love. For five days before any gathering, stay at home and wear a mask if you must go out. An alternative is to wear a mask in public for three or four days prior to a gathering.

Mask when traveling
Keep a high-quality (K95 or KN95), well-fitted mask on when traveling on public transit or in ride share vehicles. You can also choose to wear a mask for part of the gathering. If you will be outdoors when you eat, but indoors for part of the holiday, put your mask on until dinner time. Masks also help to keep the RSV and flu viruses under control.

For more information about COVID-19, including locations where free at-home test kits are distributed, 215-685-5488 or

Categories: Health Milestones eNews


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