File Photo | Photo: Heidi Zeiger

Health officials in McHenry County are encouraging residents to get tested for COVID-19 if they plan on gathering for the holidays and to receive a booster shot for fully-vaccinated individuals.

The McHenry County Department of Health is urging everyone, regardless of vaccination status, to get tested for COVID-19 before gathering with others this holiday season.

Officials say testing is an important strategy to reduce the transmission of the disease.

Testing results allow individuals to make better choices about how to celebrate the holidays.

Those who test positive should isolate themselves from others and inform their healthcare provider and any close contacts, officials say.

Many locations across the county offer testing and over-the-counter at-home test kits are available at participating retailers.

Residents can find testing locations by visiting https://bit.ly/MCDHCovidTesting1.

Officials also encourage all eligible individuals to get vaccinated and to receive a booster shot if eligible.

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Fully vaccinated individuals aged 16 and older should receive a booster shot if six months have passed since receiving the second dose of the Moderna vaccine for those 18 and older, six months have passed since receiving the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine for those 16 and older or two months have passed since receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for those 18 and older.

Melissa Adamson, Public Health Administrator for the McHenry County Department of Health, said, “Holiday traditions are important for families, friends and loved ones. With overall case rates remaining high, and hospitalizations increasing, we’re encouraging everyone to take steps to make their holiday celebrations safer.”

“By taking precautions—staying home when we’re sick, knowing our COVID-19 status before we gather and getting vaccinated or boosted against the virus—we can enjoy safer holidays and travel, and protect our own health as well as the health of our family and friends,” Adamson added.

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