PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Easter holiday will look different again this year.
The CDC and doctors are advising people to celebrate safely to limit COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.READ MORE: Pittsburgh Police Investigating Threat Made Toward Pittsburgh Central Catholic
The CDC released some guidance for Sunday, which includes celebrating with people you live with virtually or outside while following social distancing. The CDC also said those who are fully vaccinated may gather together without masks.
“We are ready for this to be done. No one is looking forward to another uptick,” said Dr. John Sullivan, the chief medical officer at St. Clair Health.
He said health systems in our region have seen a rise in cases and hospitalizations.
“People are still getting sick and ill. It may be surprising to some that it’s not all elderly that are hospitalized with this. We have to keep our guard up,” Dr. Sullivan said.
The CDC suggests eating your Easter meal with those you live with, attending religious services virtually or holding an egg hunt outside with masks and 6 feet of distance.
The CDC’s guidelines state if you are fully vaccinated, you can gather indoors with other fully vaccinated people without wearing masks. Also, if you are fully vaccinated, you can gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household without masks, unless any of those people or anyone they live with is high risk.READ MORE: 'You Are Not Alone:' Mother Of Domestic Violence Victim Challenging Men To Speak Up
The CDC website said you are fully vaccinated two weeks after your final vaccine.
Dr. Sullivan experienced this recently when he finally saw his father, who was fully vaccinated on his birthday.
“I took him out for his 88th birthday a few weeks ago and it was so desperately needed,” Dr. Sullivan said.
Dr. Wendy Braund, the COVID-19 response director for the Pennsylvania Department of Health, said people should avoid travel this weekend. She also said people should continue following safety guidelines when restrictions are eased at bars and restaurants on Sunday.
Governor Tom Wolf recently announced on April 4: restaurants may resume bar service, alcohol service will be allowed without food purchase, curfew for removing alcoholic drinks from tables lifted and indoor dining capacity will be raised to 75 percent.
“They should continue to wear their masks if they are not actively eating or drinking, maintain physical distance of 6 feet. As weather improves, partaking in those activities outdoors is safer than indoors,” Dr. Braund said. “Continuing to practice those preventive behaviors is critical, especially as the mitigation measures are lifted, that increases the level of risk.”
Dr. Braund said the recent increase in COVID-19 cases is concerning and preventative measures can help fight the virus.MORE NEWS: State Senator Pat Stefano Introduces Legislation To Expand Pennsylvania's Castle Doctrine Law
“Whether you’re celebrating Easter, Passover or the coming of spring … it has been a long hard winter and hope is on the horizon. I hope people who feel like celebrating, we do need to continue to do it in a safe way,” Dr. Braund said.