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Staying Connected & Safe Over the Holidays

by | Nov 25, 2020 | In the News

Tips from the employees at NVRH

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted family gatherings and celebrations all year.  In Vermont, social gatherings have been the super spreaders.  As cases rise in Vermont and in the US, it is more important than ever to find safe ways to connect and celebrate over the next few months of the holiday season.

 “The virus is here,” says Dr. Ryan Sexton, President of the Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital (NVRH) Medical Staff and Medical Director of the Emergency Department.  “Across the country, the healthcare system is being overwhelmed.  We want to be here for all of you.  Not just COVID, but also for trauma and heart attacks.  We need everyone to wear a mask out in public, and keep your holiday gatherings to those in your household only.”

To celebrate this year you may have to rethink old traditions or start new ones.  Here are some suggestions from staff at NVRH:

  • Write letters or cards to people you aren’t going to be with you. People will be surprised by snail mail, but will love it.
  • Set up your Christmas tree early, turn on the tree lights and the other house lights off, and just sit quietly and enjoy the lights of the season.
  • Plan your next post-COVID vacation with family and friends.
  • Find virtual museum or art gallery tours online to enjoy with those in your house and distant family or friends.
  • Try new recipes for holiday snacks and meals. Easy and inexpensive ones can be found at foodhero.org.
  • Get outdoors! Check out the LVRT or your town forest. These are short hikes for people of all ages and abilities.  You can’t get lost, and are already close to home.
  • Write down three things you are thankful for – this is a good habit to get into every day, not just during the holidays.

Walk your dog in a new part of town, or try Dog Mountain in St. Johnsbury.  If you don’t have a dog, offer to walk your neighbor’s dog. “Humans are social by nature, this pandemic goes against our very nature – it is almost anti-human.  Pets, especially our furry ones can be a big comfort right now,” suggests Dr. Mike Rousse, Chief Medical Officer at NVRH. 

This is the season for giving and sharing and thinking of others.  Organize a holiday food swap, and not just cookies.  Is green bean casserole your specialty, but baking pies not your thing?  Offer to swap with neighbors and friends.  Post your offerings on social media or Front Porch Forum.  Don’t forget friends and neighbors who are home alone.  Offer to bring them a holiday meal or just share your leftovers. 

There are favorite traditions you can still enjoy.  It’s still hunting season in Vermont – put on your orange and see if you can bag your buck or bird.  The National Football League still plans to play out the season with games scheduled on holidays, and local TV will be broadcasting a scaled back Macy’s Thanksgiving parade.

For the most up to date information on COVID-19 and tips about talking with friends and family about traveling during the holidays visit https://www.healthvermont.gov/covid-19.

When asked how his family is planning to connect with loved ones this Thanksgiving, Dr. Sexton says “It will just be my wife and kids this year. For our extended family, we’ll set up a tablet or our phones at the dinner table and make the best of it.  Maybe have a contest for the best – or worst – looking holiday dish.”

Happy holidays everyone.  Stay safe.

Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital

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1315 Hospital Drive
St. Johnsbury, Vermont 05819

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