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With COVID-19 spreading rapidly in many Bay Area neighborhoods, health officials across the region urge residents to protect themselves and the community by celebrating from home this holiday weekend.

The Fourth of July is traditionally a time for firework displays, cookouts and parades, but this year the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many communities to cancel public events. Gatherings with others from outside your household, such as members of the extended family, are potentially risky.

Health officers from across the greater Bay Area say staying home this year is a healthy choice.

“Nobody wants to be cooped up, or to miss out on the holiday,” said Dr. Chris Farnitano, Contra Costa County Health Officer. “But the more we come together in groups, the more COVID-19 spreads in the community. And the more it spreads, the more it endangers older adults and others at high risk of serious illness.”

You can spread COVID-19 even if you don’t feel that sick. You can pass the disease to someone else before you have symptoms, and even if you never develop any symptoms at all. When infected people come in contact with others who are high-risk, there can be deadly consequences.

That is why Bay Area health officers recommend people who are not members of the same household remain physically distant. The best ways to protect yourself and slow the spread of COVID-19 include:

Continuing to stay home as much as possible

Practicing physical distancing outside the home

Wearing face coverings or masks when outside your home

Avoiding gatherings with people outside your immediate household

Washing your hands thoroughly and frequently

Staying home from work, school or daycare if you feel sick

All Bay Area residents are also encouraged to get tested for COVID-19, and to do so immediately if they have symptoms. Check with your local health department for more information about testing and about efforts in your community to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, please visit cchealth.org/coronavirus.

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