Celebrate the Holidays Safely by Minimizing COVID-19 Risk

DES MOINES, IOWA – Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2021 ­– Mayor Frank Cownie wishes all Des Moines residents a happy and safe holiday season. Because many generations tend to gather to celebrate the holidays, it’s important that we not lose track of the current risk COVID-19 poses on our community.

Local health official­s have reported a noticeable increase in new COVID-19 cases in Polk County over the past two weeks. The Polk County Health Department reported on Friday, Dec. 17 that the Omicron variant has been detected locally.

Since Polk County is still experiencing high community transmission of COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that even those who are fully vaccinated should wear a well-fitting mask in public indoor settings in Des Moines.

Additional guidance from the CDC includes:

  • Protect those not yet eligible for vaccination (such as young children) by getting yourself and other eligible people around them vaccinated.
  • Avoid crowded, poorly ventilated spaces. Outdoor gatherings are safer than indoors.
  • If you are sick or have symptoms, don’t host or attend a gathering.
  • Take a self-test before joining indoor gatherings with others who are not in your household.
    • A positive self-test result means that you have an infection and should avoid indoor gatherings to reduce the risk of spreading disease to someone else.
    • A negative self-test result means that you may not have an infection. Repeating the test with at least 24 hours between tests will increase the confidence that you are not infected.
    • Ask your healthcare provider if you need help interpreting your test results.
  • Delay travel until you are fully vaccinated, or follow CDC travel recommendations for unvaccinated people.
  • If you are gathering with a group of people from multiple households (and potentially from different parts of the country), consider additional precautions (e.g., avoiding crowded indoor spaces before travel, taking a test) in advance of gathering to further reduce risk.

By working together, we can enjoy safer holidays, travel, and protect our own health as well as the health of our family and friends.

Visit the Polk County Health Department’s website at polkcountyiowa.gov/health-department/ for the latest local COVID-19 information.

CDC Holiday COVID-19 Poster

Jen Schulte
Assistant City Manager, City Manager’s Office
(515) 283-4058