Valley doctors give some simple tips to protect yourself from COVID this holiday season

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The holidays are a time when families like to plan get-togethers, but with the Valley's steady COVID infection rate, doctors urge caution.

Many families planning Thanksgiving gatherings may have put it off last year because of the pandemic.

Health officials say you can take some simple steps to keep everyone safe.

"Just gather in small groups, for a short amount of time. If possible, outdoors, because when it's outdoors it's less likely to spread," says Fresno County Public Health physician Dr. Trinidad Solis.

If you take the celebration indoors, Dr. Solis suggests you open windows to bring in fresh air.

She says if you're unvaccinated, wear a mask at social gatherings and if you feel sick, don't go.

"If you're having any symptoms of COVID such as cough, sore throat, runny nose, it's always a good idea to stay home, isolate, and get tested," says Dr. Solis.

The CDC recommends COVID booster shots for people 65 and older, as well as for those who work in high-risk settings such as first responders and teachers.

State health officials though have told healthcare providers not to deny booster shots to any adults who want one.

Dr. Solis says Fresno County wants to reduce barriers for anyone who would like to get a booster, even if they don't have underlying health conditions.

"It's really an issue of accessibility and we want anyone who wants a booster to be able to get any of the booster shots that they may desire."

A spike in COVID cases has pushed area hospitals to capacity, so Fresno County has brought back an 'assess and refer' policy.

Paramedics will transport people to the hospital only if they are experiencing a medical emergency.

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