Vidant Health leaders encourage outdoor New Year’s Eve celebrations amid omicron surge

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) -With one more day until the end of 2021, the country is planning New Year celebrations during a surge of COVID cases.

As thousands of people across Eastern North Carolina wait on their COVID-19 test results, Vidant Health reported a 34% positivity rate at their test site in Greenville.

With cases on the rise, infectious disease specialist, Dr. Ryan Gallaher, is telling folks to plan their New Year’s celebration wisely if they insist on having one.

“Don’t get a bunch of people in a room,” Gallaher said. “Maybe try to go outside. Be smart and maybe get a small group that you trust that have been vaccinated or boosted and you trust aren’t going to do anything stupid. If you have to be in a room and watch a [football] game because it’s too cold, put on that mask for a little while and maybe step outside and take a little break.”

That guidance to celebrate outside is why Greenville spokesperson, Brock Letchworth, believes the city can safely throw a New Year’s bash tomorrow night at the Town Common.

“After the cancellation last year due to COVID, we’re excited to have it back and continuing a year where we’ve been gradually bringing back city events,” Letchworth said.

Letchworth also revealed that the city will also be providing face masks to those who want them.

“We do have a large open space outside,” Letchworth said. “If anyone isn’t comfortable with the environment and going out in a crowd like that, they have the choice to not participate.”

The Greenville New Year’s Eve celebration will take place at the Town Common starting at 9 p.m.

WITN’s Hannah Jefferies will emcee the celebration.

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