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Can anyone answer this Covid question about visiting others?


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My dad has had a rough year -- separated from my mom (his wife of nearly 70 years) due to Covid and quite lonely.  My sister and I take turns seeing him and helping him several days a week, and recently, a few other family members have visited him as well, masked.  (Note:  He'd rather see EVERYONE anytime, doesn't care about getting Covid and dying.  It's all the rest of us who are concerned!)

His birthday is coming up, and I thought it would be special to have a drive by/short visit from his various children and grandchildren throughout the day.  If people (each small family group) went into his apartment for 30 minutes masked, one group at a time, and left before the next family group arrived, would that be reasonably safe for the others coming?  If one of those family groups was contagious, and my dad got it, would he be infectious immediately?  So the other families following that particular family would be exposed immediately?  A couple of the family groups have small children under age 4 who would not be masked.

There would probably be 7 or 8 family groups taking part in this.

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7 minutes ago, Garga said:

Can a couple of windows be open and fans blowing the air outside? 

We could probably arrange that...  Although here, it will likely be quite cold/wintery.

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My guess is that no, he wouldn't be infectious right away. More likely, the room would still have some of the contagious particles in the air and that's what could infect others. Masks would help. Opening the window would help. Being outside would be better. If weather permits, you could all be at a park together, masked and distanced. It's the indoor circulated air that would be the problem. But if you want one on one time, then you could have a birthday week and spread it out that way. That many visits in one day could be exhausting for an older fellow anyway. 

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In a more long term way, if people are going to be coming and going, you could consider getting him one of those room air filters too. They're like $200 or $300 and some people are thinking they may help. 

I would also crank up the heat and open the windows just for the day.

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10 minutes ago, Farrar said:

In a more long term way, if people are going to be coming and going, you could consider getting him one of those room air filters too. They're like $200 or $300 and some people are thinking they may help. 

I would also crank up the heat and open the windows just for the day.

This, plus something to humidify the air. More and more, humidity is showing to be helpful, and dry indoor air in the winter is likely to be a bigger problem. If he has his own hvac, rather than shared, and it's a newer building where he can circulate fresh air from outside by turning on his fan, he could set that to run full time.

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I think it would depend on your local numbers. If your local numbers are good, I don't see why this wouldn't be a good plan. I think it is very thoughtful and I am pretty sure your dad would love this for his birthday! That is just my opinion though, no facts to back it up.

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There’s probably no absolute safe but if you could leave a buffer of 15-30 minutes between guests and if it’s possible to have open windows that would help (two or more is best).  Also I guess just worth checking that he’s up for that many people coming in and out in one day because some people I know would be absolutely exhausted by the third family while others would love it.   I wouldn’t be so worried about your dad catching it and being infectious as I’d be worried about lingering aerosols and surface spread from the building.  You can all make it safer by really reducing any unnecessary outings in the two weeks before.  

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Agree with pp re open windows, filter if possible, ideally outdoors.

I would also check with him if an all-day parade coming in and out is actually his preference. I think my own mother would prefer a birthday week, with something special to look forward to each day, over an extended period. She'd be quite drained by the second or third set of people in a single day.

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Thanks for the thoughts...  All good ideas.  I hadn't thought of a birthday week, or at least spreading it out over several days instead of just a day.  We could definitely open windows and crank the heat.  We actually did something similar for him on Father's Day with fewer family members, which was so much easier since the weather was beautiful and it was all outside.  I'd much rather do it outside like that, but it could be way too cold by then.  (You never know though!)

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If he’s fine with the risk, and everyone else is too, your best bet is to have everyone shelter in the week before the visit, run HEPA filters doing it, and stay masked and apart while visiting. 
 

My HEPA filter that I run in the room (on top of my hvac ones) supposedly does 4 complete air exchanges an hour, fwiw.

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22 hours ago, Plum said:

My guess is that no, he wouldn't be infectious right away. More likely, the room would still have some of the contagious particles in the air and that's what could infect others. Masks would help. Opening the window would help. Being outside would be better. If weather permits, you could all be at a park together, masked and distanced. It's the indoor circulated air that would be the problem. But if you want one on one time, then you could have a birthday week and spread it out that way. That many visits in one day could be exhausting for an older fellow anyway. 

 

I agree! 

 

I think a whole birthday week sounds like an excellent idea!!!

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