Unvaccinated? Ways to Keep Yourself and Your Community Safe

Choosing not to get the COVID-19 vaccinations comes with challenges. Whether you have medical or religious exemption status or choose to be unvaccinated for other personal reasons, it’s still important to be aware of the threat the coronavirus still poses to yourself and others. Here are some ways for unvaccinated individuals and groups to keep yourselves and your communities safe and healthy, as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and other reputable medical experts and sources.

Recently, we shared a blog post talking about the Omicron variant of COVID-19: how it spreads, how it compares to other variants, etc. The latest variant is more transmissible than previous iterations, and unvaccinated individuals who contract the virus are having the hardest time. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Hospital Association, unvaccinated adults are 3-5 times more likely to catch Omicron. So what can we do?

Wear a Mask & Make a “COVID Budget”

No one wants to, but vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals alike are urged to wear their masks properly, especially when indoors or in other public places, or at large gatherings.

Many experts are also talking about the importance of creating a “coronavirus budget.” Though it has nothing to do with financial spending, it works in a similar way. Regardless of vaccination status, now is the time to decide which “high-risk” behaviors and activities are worth the most to you. Hospitals are running out of beds, supplies, and healthy staff members, and slowing the spread is as easy as rationing where you go and what you do. It’s not about denying yourself every experience and gathering that brings you joy or tranquility – we all need our community to survive, especially now. A COVID budget just means you attend certain events that mean the most to you and skip some of the ones that aren’t as important.

For example, many people find the highest sense of comfort and community in their churches and religious institutions. So you may create a coronavirus budget that includes attending Sunday service in person, and Wednesday night prayer groups via Zoom. Because you are budgeting, you can then choose not to attend bowling night with your buddies or your monthly dinner date with your coworkers because you’ve already maxed out your budget. Creating a budget gives you the power to keep your life full while lowering the chances of you getting and spreading COVID to others in your many interwoven communities.

Practice Good Hygiene Habits

The CDC has some great resources for faith-based communities that can also apply to many community groups and activities regardless of religious affiliation.

There are tons of ways to practice good hygiene including washing your hands properly, and often. Stay home when you are feeling under the weather and cough or sneeze into your elbow, not into the air or your hands.

Good hygiene is also community-based. If you are in charge of a gathering space for people, make sure there’s ample room to spread out and practice social distancing. If that’s not possible, consider creating more smaller events, or splitting your largest gatherings into several smaller ones.

Create comprehensive cleaning and disinfecting protocols, and perform these tasks often. Focus on high touch areas first, but also think about lower touch areas that may be more used by vulnerable populations – for example, we all know to clean doorknobs and other high-traffic surfaces, but also take a glance around and disinfect smaller or less-used items, like handicap ramps and rails, walls near doorknobs or mailboxes, and shared items like tools, utensils, coffee pots, etc.

Avoid Areas with Poor Ventilation

Ventilation is something we don’t often think about until there’s a problem with it, but many older facilities and buildings have ventilation systems that are outdated or past due for a good cleaning. As often as possible, hold gatherings outside or in larger areas with high ceilings, lots of windows, and circulating vents.

You can also take steps to improve the air quality in less drastic ways by implementing an air purifier or keeping doors to smaller rooms open more frequently. Take a quick look around your meeting and conference rooms and look to see if there are simple ways you can create more airflow in a space.

Reduce Group Activities That Cause Increased Exhalation

It may sound strange, but certain activities can actually help spread COVID without you knowing. Activities with increased exhalation – like vigorous exercise, singing, shouting, and the like – saturate the air and the room with more respiratory fluids, and this leads to an increase in the spread of COVID-19. Choir groups and other close-quarters high-intensity activities should be done outside or with masks on (so long as the participants are healthy and staying aware of their exertion levels), and if that’s not possible, it might be a good time to postpone those activities until they can be done in a safer or more socially distant environment.

Get Tested

Aside from precautionary measures, the best way to protect yourself and your community is to get tested, especially if someone near you has tested positive or if you are showing any signs or symptoms. Periodic testing greatly reduces the spread of the coronavirus, and it allows your communities to continue to function at full capacity.

Many businesses are struggling to keep staffing at adequate levels, especially in areas like the healthcare field. Getting tested has become quicker, easier, and more convenient – you can complete the test in a few seconds, and many rapid tests can provide you with almost instant results.

Reliant – Making Community Testing Quick and Easy

Reliant Health Services has top-notch business and community testing services for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals that can be carried out in half the time, and at half the cost of many other services. Our turn-key workplace COVID-testing solutions make hitting weekly testing goals easy. Frequent testing plays a critical role in helping communities combat the coronavirus pandemic. We offer tests delivered where and when you need them, with minimally invasive specimen collection methods and certified supervision via telehealth and real-time results reporting.

If you need community testing, reach out to us today.