Health officials hope people are thoughtful about virus risks ahead of July 4th weekend

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — As the Independence Day weekend approaches, health experts are advising residents to be thoughtful on how they celebrate. Although the Phase 4 risks of COVID-19 can’t be eliminated, people should be wise about every decision they make.

“Each time you’re thinking about where you’re going to travel, what your plan is to do, think about how can I make it as safe as possible?” explained Dr. Sandra Martell of WCHD.

Even though the 4th of July is this weekend, local health officials want people to err on the side of caution.

“Many communities have canceled fireworks displays because, not because they’re anti-fireworks or there’s a significant danger associated with fireworks, it has to do with containing group size,” Dr. Martell added during Tuesday’s press conference.

Local health officials say residents should think about reducing their risk of exposure to COVID-19. They broke it up into two groups of what is considered low risk and high risk.

What is considered low risk?

  • Being outdoors
  • Wearing a mask and social distancing
  • Being in a group with less than 50 individuals
  • Staying less than 15 minutes

What is considered high risk?

  • Being indoors
  • Not wearing a face mask or social distancing
  • Being in a large group of more than 50 individuals
  • Staying for extended periods of time

At the end of the day, it is each person’s individual choice.

“If you can take on those exposures, you as an individual can make that choice,” Dr. Martell said.

Another warning or concern to consider is the number of days you would have to take off work if exposed to the virus.

“What has been happening more frequently I’ve been at a gathering and someone has told me they tested positive, then the employer is automatically saying lets quarantine for the 14 day period,”explained Laurie Miller, the president of 2HB Human Resources & Benefits Solutions.

“Employees do not have to use time or vacation time from the CARES Act, which was passed earlier this year, they are granted two weeks of emergency sick leave.,” Miller added.

“You have to be thoughtful, if you’re going to bring your children with you, if you’re going to bring your grandparents with you, you have to be thoughtful. No one’s going to tell you ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ That’s not what this is about. It’s trying to provide you with the tools so you can make the best decision for yourself,” Dr. Martell concluded.

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