Halloween safety tips during a pandemic from DHEC and Tidelands Health physicians


MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in South Carolina, DHEC is advising people to celebrate Halloween safely this year.

“Unfortunately the typical Halloween activities and some of the typical holiday activities are going to be a higher risk for spreading the virus,” said Dr. Michael Kacka, DHEC physician, and chief medical officer.

Dr. Kacka added that, “we really want people this year to be aware of the risk of rising cases, the fall weather coming and cold and flu season on the way and look at the activities they’re going to be doing and choose things that are going to be a little bit lower risk and allow for more social distancing and wearing of a mask.”

DHEC is encouraging people to find alternative ways to enjoy the holiday like going through a drive-through trick-or-treating event.

Dr. Kacka says to avoid large gatherings and instead only gather with people in your household.

“If people don’t follow the guidelines for how to prevent transmission of the virus, it definitely will see a spread of more cases and we will see more cases if people aren’t taking protective actions,” Dr. Kacka said.

Dr. Gerald Harmon with Tidelands Health wants to remind people that the pandemic isn’t over, that we’re in the middle of it and that there are still positive cases.

“So we’ve had almost a full 100 percent increase in the last 3 weeks in our inpatient system so we’re in the middle of it and we really need to take extra steps to decrease the transmission,” Dr. Harmon said.

Even though DHEC says trick or treating is a high-risk activity, Dr. Harmon says he assumes people are going to partake anyways and if they do, to do so safely and social distance.

“Make sure they all wear some face covering and it should be a mask but it shouldn’t be a costume mask only, you should make the mask apart of the costume,” Dr. Harmon said.

DHEC says wearing a costume mask over a cloth mask could be dangerous if the costume mask makes it hard to breathe.

Dr. Harmon also said people giving out candy should take extra precautions as well.

“If you’re giving the treats to trick-or-treaters, wash your hands before giving it to them,” Dr. Harmon said.

In addition, DHEC says to offer hand sanitizer outside your door, don’t allow dozens of hands to reach into the same candy bowl, and wear a mask when you open the door.

As for candy, “kind of having pre-packaged treats that children can get for themselves and sort of trick-or-treating that way. It’s going to be a little lower risk of approaching it,” Dr. Kacka says.

A full list of safety tips can be found on the DHEC website.

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