10TV: When Can We Hug Our Grandparents Again?
One of the biggest struggles for people during the COVID-19 pandemic has been social distancing and the lack of time together with friends and family. Maybe the hardest hit group by this is the elderly, many of whom have spent the past year isolated from their loved ones. And now with the COVID-19 vaccine available to Ohioans over age 65, many are wondering if it's finally safe for grandparents to be around their families.
While the CDC has not issued official guidance on this yet, Joseph Gastaldo, MD, OhioHealth system medical director of infectious diseases says a quick visit is probably okay, as long as some important safety measures are taken.
“Senior citizens have been isolated for over a year from society from their family. They’re dealing with loneliness," said Dr. Gastaldo in an interview with 10TV reporter Gabriela Garcia. “If grandma and grandpa are fully vaccinated and they have not seen their family or their grandchildren for a long period of time, in my opinion, it’s okay for those of you who are not vaccinated go see grandma and grandpa, you can give them a hug and a kiss. Put your mask back on. Visit with them.”
Dr. Gastaldo pointed out that these visits should only happen if the visitors are not feeling any symptoms of COVID-19 and have not been exposed to anyone with the virus recently. Everyone should also wear a mask and wash and sanitize their hands.
You also need to make sure that the elderly you are visiting are fully vaccinated. What does that mean?
“Fully vaccinated is defined as being two weeks out from receiving the second dose of a messenger RNA vaccine (like Pfzier or Moderna),” Dr. Gastaldo told 10TV.
Dr. Gastaldo told 10TV he is confident that the CDC will eventually release official guidelines on how people can be safe together when they’re fully vaccinated, so his feelings may change depending on what those guidelines say.
“Speaking from a public health person, we are waiting for the official guidance from the CDC. They want to follow the data. We want them to do that," he said.
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