Olmsted County Public Health Services has launched a new campaign — “Think Ahead Olmsted” — to help flatten the curve and promote safe holiday activities at a time when COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are spiking throughout the state.

The timing of Think Ahead Olmsted coincides with new statewide restrictions on social activities and gatherings —both indoors and outdoors — with people outside of your immediate household.

County staff said Think Ahead Olmsted is about creating awareness and inspiring communication about ways to stay safe during the holidays. It's designed to inform, engage and entertain community residents, and provide ideas and alternatives.

As positive COVID-19 cases continue to rise, public health officials say it is increasingly important to follow guidelines from the Minnesota Department of Health, including the new statewide restrictions announced last week.

The measures are seen as vital to keeping residents and their family members, friends, co-workers and community healthy and safe. They include refraining from gathering with anyone outside of your immediate household throughout the holiday season, whether indoors or outdoors, even if physical distancing can be maintained.

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“The actions we all take together this holiday season can help us protect the health and safety of all of our residents,” Public Health Director Graham Briggs said in a statement announcing the new campaign. “Pandemic fatigue is very real and we are seeing it not only in our community, but around the country. This is a critical time. We all need to do our part and seriously follow the guidelines so we can slow the spread.”

WATCH: Thanksgiving Day message from Graham Briggs

Olmsted County Public Health is encouraging residents to enjoy the holiday season in a different way this year and as safely as possible. Measures include:

  • Stay home and don't physically gather with anyone outside of your immediate household.
  • Reach out (virtually) and talk to someone. Call or text relatives, friends or neighbors.
  • Organize virtual family gatherings and games over the internet.
  • Mail special greetings to friends and family.

For more ideas, visit www.ThinkAheadOlmstedMN.com.