She says it’s important to still social distance, but keeping your hands clean is the most critical part.By Casey Albritton

TAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – With Halloween right around the corner, one local expert says there are some precautions you should take to keep your family safe from COVID-19.

Dr. Allison Messina at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital says “The risk is still out there, especially for the age five to eleven. It’s the next group that hopefully be able to be vaccinated soon. These are also probably our trick or treaters.”

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She says although COVID-19 cases are decreasing in the Tampa Bay Area compared to two weeks ago, people shouldn’t let their guard down.

“I think we are definitely seeing a decrease but again, we haven’t had a week where we haven’t seen any, so it’s still out there,” said Dr. Messina.

She says there are a couple things you can do to reduce your family’s chance of getting COVID-19 this Halloween.

“If you are in an indoor Halloween party, where your mask. Keep that social distance when you can,” said Dr. Messina.

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She says if you plan on going trick or treating with your kids, being outside allows for better air ventilation, but recommends keeping trick or treating groups smaller this year.

“If you’re outside in a crowd where you are shoulder to shoulder with people, that kind of makes the risk a little higher,” she said.

She says it’s important to still social distance, but keeping your hands clean is the most critical part.

“If there’s a way to have candy put out like on a table where the kids can just pick up that candy rather than having to touch or shake hands with the people handing out the candy, that would be advisable,” said Dr. Messina.

Dr. Messina says whether you’re going to the pumpkin patch or kids are opening up candy at home, make sure you take precautions

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“I think when you are talking about contact exposure, just having some hand sanitizer available or having some way that they can wash their hands, so after they do touch something so if you can wash their hands right away, that will go a long way in helping mitigate that contact,” she said.