Staying healthy this holiday weekend

Published: Jul. 1, 2021 at 5:58 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Remember you still need to wear a mask in airports and on the plane. The FAA says unruly passengers could be fined.

Its gotten more than 3,000 reports of unruly passengers this year. The majority coming from people refusing to wear masks.

The TSA says the public transportation mask requirement lasts through September 13.

Health experts are reminding everyone there’s still a very contagious virus out there. After a really difficult year, this Fourth of July weekend has a new meaning for many.

Several say they are getting back to their celebrations after changing course last year during the pandemic. But Doctors say while we are doing much better against COVID-19 the threat of the more contagious delta variant is a concern in places with low vaccination rates.

“Most health departments and epidemiologist are looking at this combination of events that are occurring that we’ve got areas that have poor vaccine uptake in their communities, we have the pull back of these public health guidance that were put in place that help keep you protected from infection as an individual who is unvaccinated and then we’ve got gatherings so all that lining up creates a large risk for many of our communities,” said Pediatric Infectious Disease Dr. Stephen Thacker.

Doctors say vaccination is critical right now just 40 percent of Chatham County is fully vaccinated and we are starting to see a slight increase in the community transmission index and hospitalizations. Memorial had just three patients a week ago and today that’s increased to 13, all are unvaccinated.

“We’re not seeing a lot of advanced aged individuals coming in for COVID-19 hospitalization instead it’s younger individuals who have not pursued vaccination yet.”

Tourists WTOC spoke to visiting Savannah Thursday say that they felt safe getting back out this fourth of July weekend because of the vaccine.

“We’ve all been vaccinated so I feel pretty comfortable in our chances of being able to weather any new variant,” said Jennifer Gerber who is visiting from Kentucky.

“I hope that by the vaccination that I have had that it will take care of the Delta. I hope I don’t have to get another vaccination, but if I do I do,” said Dominic Donatucci who is visiting from Florida.

Dr. Thacker says the MRNA vaccines are proving highly effective against the delta variant. He also stands by the CDC’s recommendations on masks saying those unvaccinated should wear them, especially for parties this holiday weekend.

“What better way to show that you love your community and you love your nation by keeping in mind the safety of others you are gathering around. And so with that, we really need to remember to return to those practices around social distancing, effective hand hygiene and using a mask when we can’t socially distance when we’re around those that we don’t know their vaccine status,” said Dr. Thacker.

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