TROUP COUNTY, Ga. (WRBL) – As the holiday season unfolds, District 4 Public Health is warning people to take extra precautions to avoid contracting COVID-19 in Troup County.

Hayla Folden, the Media Relations Specialist for DPH, said the public health department is expecting positive COVID-19 rates to rise as people begin to gather and travel for the holiday season.

“The areas that have lower vaccination rates will have higher case rates or higher transmissibility rates within those counties. We will more than likely see some of our rural counties that have low vaccination rates have a tougher time once we get through the holidays,” said Folden.

Only 40% of Troup County residents have received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccines and 36% are fully vaccinated. Folden said the percentages are too low to prevent COVID-19 from spreading in Troup County.

She urges people who have illnesses like diabetes or hypertension or those who have compromised immune systems to be extra aware of their surroundings.

“Wash your hands, get vaccinated if you have not, be mindful of who you are around. Consider where you’re going, who you are around, maybe avoid large gatherings, wear a mask around people you’re not around often or are familiar with and stay in touch with people once you’ve gone to a gathering,” said Folden.

Folden said it is important to stay alert for symptoms of COVID-19 after attending large gatherings and follow up with other attendees if they test positive for the virus.

She also said she encourages people thinking about getting booster shots to get them in the first two weeks of December so that they will be completely effective by Christmas and New Years.