Spring is Here And Together We Can Make Summer Feel Like It Used To!!
It seems that spring is finally here, and with it, blossoming trees, warmer days, flowers shooting up and the sound of children playing outside.
It seems that spring is finally here, and with it, blossoming trees, warmer days, flowers shooting up and the sound of children playing outside. But there is also renewed hope that we can finally get back some of our familiar summer routines – family dinners, barbeques, baseball games, soccer, picnics and maybe even a holiday.
Even though Connecticut’s COVID-19 positive cases are declining steadily, and hospitalizations are at the lowest rate since the fall, we must not let ourselves believe that the pandemic is over. The reason that cases are falling, and fewer people are getting sick is that the state also has conducted an effective vaccine program; and most people are following the CDC guidelines that ask us to wash our hands often, stay 6 feet away from people in public places, and from those who are unvaccinated. But the most important thing that most people have done is wear a mask.
If you are fully vaccinated (one shot for Johnson and Johnson and two for Moderna and Pfizer) and want to resume social activities with friends and family, please do!! Just follow the most recent CDC and state guidelines to stay healthy and keep your loved ones safe.
When planning a social event, have conversations with guests ahead of time to set expectations for a safe gathering. If everyone has been fully vaccinated, and the gathering is small and outdoors, you can start doing many things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic. You can even set aside masks for those specific events.
However, in indoor public spaces, the vaccination status of other people or whether they are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 is likely unknown. Therefore, fully vaccinated people should continue to wear a mask that fits snugly against the sides of your face and doesn’t have gaps, cover coughs and sneezes, and wash hands often in those situations.
For now, try to gather outside; it is much safer. If someone in the house who is infected with the virus is coughing and sneezing and not being careful, then tiny virus particles in respiratory droplets could be circulated in the air. Anything that moves air currents around the room can spread these droplets, whether it is an air conditioning system, a window-mounted AC unit, a forced heating system or even a fan.
The most important way to prevent the pandemic from spreading is to get a vaccine as soon as you are able to - and right now, all Connecticut residents 16 and older are now eligible for the vaccine. The sooner we are all vaccinated, the sooner the state will fully open up and we can get back to our previous lives!
Although there have been some challenges understanding and accessing the VAMS system, and some people experienced long wait times on phone lines, that is not true anymore.
There are many languages spoken on the 211 phone lines and there is almost no wait to get an appointment.
People with limited or no online access can call the Vaccination Appointment Assistance Line (VAAL) at 1-877-918-2224 to schedule an appointment at participating vaccine providers across the state. You can also inquire about available transportation options.
Visit these sites for more information on vaccine availability:
Many of your local pharmacies are now administering vaccines. In addition, churches, synagogues, temples and community organizations are now sponsoring walk-in clinics in order to get the vaccine to as many people as possible.
It has become easy to get vaccinated if you want to. And doing so enables you and your loved ones to take care of each other, to keep each other safe and to help us all climb out of the sadness and isolation that we have experienced over the last year. Getting vaccinated can be seen as a civic duty, and a loving thing to do for others.
Whatever discomfort you may feel after the shot is not comparable to getting the virus. Over half a million people in the United States have died from it, and over 8,000 in Connecticut. Together we can stop further death and illness by calling the numbers above, or going online to make an appointment.
We can stop this. But we must also help our friends, neighbors and families understand that the real information comes from the CDC, your family doctor and other medical experts, not rumors on social media.
I know I can’t imagine another Christmas without my children and grandchildren, how about you?
Let’s do this together!!
This article was written by Catherine Blinder, chief education and outreach officer of the Department of Consumer Protection of the State of Connecticut. To learn more about how the Department of Consumer Protection can help, visit us online at www.ct.gov/dcp.