EDINBURG, Texas (KVEO) – UT-Health RGV (University of Texas Rio Grande Valley) advises the community on what to practice this holiday season with COVID-19 cases on the rise.

Practices like doubling up on face masks is just one of the precautions to take in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Because of a delivery bottleneck for professional face masks during the covid-19 pandemic, a lot of people started to organize DIY production of face masks at home. (Getty)

“Wearing two-layer face masks is very effective in preventing the transmission of this disease and other respiratory diseases,” said Dr. Michael Dobbs, UTRGV’s health chief medical officer. “It’s been common sense, but science is proving it: When you wear a two-layer mask, you effectively protect yourselves and those around you.”

Another practice in place is to avoid close contact with a person who has been in close proximity with someone infected with COVID-19 for no more than a few minutes.

“A close contact is someone who has been around a person with COVID-19 for fifteen (15) minutes in a twenty-four-hour (24) period,” said Dobbs.

Dobbs recommends using social distancing and uses this as an example:

“If you go to a family gathering and sit close to a relative, and the next day he or she says, ‘Hey, guess what. I have COVID-19 and didn’t know it’ – if you sat next to that person for 15 minutes, you are a close contact.”

According to UTRGV’s press release and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations, “washing your hands can be an effective weapon against contracting or spreading COVID-19.”

CDC recommends washing your hands for at least 20 seconds (Source: CDC.GOV)

It is “recommend by the CDC to often wash your hands with soap and water for at least twenty (20) seconds,” states the release.

Dr. Dobbs adds “if you’ve been in public, don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth until you can wash your hands or use a good hand sanitizer – CDC recommends one with at least sixty (60%) percent alcohol content.”

A full list on how to protect yourself and others by the CDC can be viewed here.

It is especially important to wash your hands when doing the following as recommended by the CDC:

  • Before eating or preparing food.
  • Before touching your face.
  • After using the restroom.
  • After leaving a public place.
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • After handling your mask.
  • After changing a diaper.
  • After caring for someone who is sick.
  • After touching animals or pets.

UT Health RGV continues to provide COVID-19 testing to the community. To make an appointment, call the UT Health RGV Patient Communications Center at 1-833-UTRGVMD.

For students or staff returning back to campuses after traveling for the holidays, the university asks that you first review the Daily Self-Screening/Reporting Process.