Philadelphia recommends masks for large indoor gatherings this spring, summer

"There's enough Covid-19 around right now... you really have to assume there's going to be somebody there who has COVID."
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- It's the time of year again with graduations, weddings, proms and all kinds of big gatherings already underway.

Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole says these gatherings, especially when indoors, pose a significant risk of spread.

As of now, the city is averaging 261 new cases a day.

Bettigole is recommending a mask, especially if you feel you're at risk.

"There's enough COVID-19 around right now that any of these big indoor gatherings you really have to assume there's going to be somebody there who has COVID-19 and could be spreading it," said Bettigole.

The Philadelphia Health Department is sharing these recommendations if you're attending large seasonal events:

Before:

  • Test before you attend big events to help lower risk for everyone.
  • If you've been exposed to COVID-19, remember that even if you are vaccinated and boosted, you could still pass the virus to others (although the chance is lower). If you choose to attend an event after a COVID exposure, make sure you keep your mask on and think about remote options to help protect others.


During:
  • Outside events are much safer than inside events.
  • Consider your own risk level and that of those you will potentially expose after the event. Wearing a high quality mask or double masking lowers your risk even if others are not masked, but only if you keep your mask on.
  • If the event has food, eat outside if possible. And minimize the amount of time your mask is off if eating or drinking inside.


After:

  • If you've recently attended a large indoor event without wearing a mask consistently, test 3-5 days later and avoid seeing people who are at higher risk until you have tested negative.
  • If you test positive for COVID-19, contact your healthcare provider to see if you can get treated. Medications like Paxlovid can reduce hospitalizations due to COVID-19 by up to 90 percent.


"Tests are readily available now. They're free with private insurance and free with Medicaid and Medicare. If you don't have insurance, you can get them at federal qualified health centers, but we want people to have tests at home so they can run a test," said Dr. Bettigole.

She adds you may even want to add a mask into certain situations when out and about as the weather gets nicer.

"If you're taking the bus, if you're going to the mall -- that's a great time to put a mask on so you don't bring something home inadvertently," said Bettigole.

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