Holiday health, COVID safety tips: UW Health

Many people are already home for the holidays, but COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

COVID-19 cases are not slowing down, and holiday gatherings are a cause for concern for some families.

"This is a virus that’s out of control, it’s spreading like wildfire," said Dr. William Hartman with UW Health.

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend getting a COVID-19 test before meeting with loved ones, wearing a mask, getting a vaccine booster shot and avoiding large crowds.

"It really is that uncertainty of going to a place that is a big gathering of a whole situation that you don't know about – masking, spacing, ventilation," Dr. Dan Shirley with UW Health said.

UW Health officials said the newest COVID-19 variant, omicron, could be more easily spread. However, if the omicron variant causes less severe disease and fewer hospitalizations, it could be a good thing.

"Kind of the end game for viruses is when it becomes more transmissible but less lethal overall. That could be what we’re seeing here," Hartman said.

It is the second year in a row that some families plan to keep their holiday celebrations smaller. Many Wisconsinites lined up to get tested in Milwaukee, and many others planned to travel for the holiday.

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One way to boost immune systems over the holiday is vitamin D.

"Taking vitamin D supplement often times is very important to maintaining your overall immune health. Along with getting good sleep, having a proper diet," said Hartman.

The Milwaukee Health Department modified its hours for COVID-19 services over the holidays. The Northwest, Southside and Menomonee Valley health centers are closed through Dec. 26 with regular hours resuming Monday, Dec. 27.

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