10:01 AM

COVID-19 safety precautions a doctor, respiratory therapist and nurse are taking this holiday season

Keck Medicine of USC frontline workers reveal what activities they do — and don’t — feel comfortable participating in this season

The holidays are quickly approaching, and with them, opportunities to socialize, shop, and visit bars and restaurants. We asked a Keck Medicine of USC doctor, respiratory therapist and nurse what holiday activities they feel comfortable with this year.

A critical care doctor’s take on holiday gatherings

“Over the last 22 months, I have witnessed far too many people die of COVID-19 and also have seen the tremendous burden the pandemic places on my colleagues and the entire health system.

“This holiday season, I’m not only concerned about the health of my wife and children, but also the people around me. As a doctor, I never want to cause harm, so I feel most comfortable hosting a small, scaled-down event.

“We’re inviting immediate family to an outdoor dinner, and everyone must be vaccinated. If it gets too cold, we will move inside. However, every window will be kept open, and I’ll run the air filter.”

Why a respiratory therapist is doing her shopping from home

“This year, I am doing all of my shopping online to avoid the crowds at shops and malls. Even if the gifts don’t arrive on time, it’s more important to be safe and avoid possible COVID-19 exposure.

“For Christmas, we are having a small gathering of immediate family. Everyone is vaccinated and will also take a rapid COVID-19 test before we get together.

“You can’t let down your guard, even during the holidays.”

  • Maria Sanchez, respiratory therapist with Keck Medicine
Two places you won’t find this ICU nurse looking for holiday cheer

“For me, the holidays are about risk reduction. This season I won’t be visiting crowded indoor bars or restaurants. Drinking or eating requires people to take their masks off; and after a drink or two, most people tend to completely forget about wearing them. I also don’t know if the staff or other diners are vaccinated or maybe even sick.

“I do feel comfortable gathering with a small group of family or friends where we all know each other’s vaccine and health status. My wife and I also recently went to an outdoor concert, but we felt safe because we were masked and stayed socially distant.”

  • Ben Trousdale, RN, intensive care unit registered nurse with Keck Medicine