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How to minimize COVID-19 risk during trick-or-treating

Trick-or-treating
Posted at 8:14 PM, Oct 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-31 11:16:14-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Halloween will look a lot more normal this year thanks to COVID-19 vaccines but a San Diego doctor said you still shouldn't let your guard down when treat-or-treating with your children.

In 2020, the CDC discouraged trick-or-treating. But this year Director Rochelle Walensky and local physicians support the outdoor activity.

"I feel much more comfortable sending my kids out trick-or-treating than I would've last year," Dr. Rakesh Patel, CEO of Neighborhood Healthcare, said.

That's because of high vaccination rates. In San Diego County, 80% of people are fully vaccinated and 90% have at least one dose.

"Parents still need to be extremely cautious right now," Dr. Patel said.

Friday, the FDA approved the Pfizer vaccine for children 5 to 11-years-old, but the age group can't get the shot just yet. A CDC panel still has to give the ok, which leaves younger trick-or-treaters still at risk.

"Unfortunately, the delta variant has caused more illness in children," Dr. Patel said.

If your family does plan to take part in the tradition, here are some tips from the California Department of Public Health:

  • Avoid crowds
  • Gather in small groups to trick-or-treat
  • Bring hand sanitizer while trick-or-treating
  • That gorilla mask is great, but won’t protect you from COVID. When around others, wear a mask that snugly covers your nose and mouth.

"I would recommend that you put the mask on first and then you're costume... fully realized that can be a little cumbersome, but really it's about safety at the end of the day," Dr. Patel said.

As for parties and other gatherings, health officials said they should be small and held outdoors if possible, especially if you don't know whether guests are fully vaccinated.

But Dr. Patel's best advice is to get vaccinated if you haven't and are eligible to make sure you're protected as we head into the holiday season.

"We're seeing a nice trend across the county, but unfortunately, as we've seen in the past, if we don't stick with things that work, we will see this come back," Dr. Patel said.