LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- With the threat of omicron intensifying, many are wondering how to handle holiday gatherings this week.
Dr. Cameron Nouri with Dignity Health Community Hospital says even if you are vaccinated, gathering around the Christmas tree with family this holiday must come with extra care, especially indoors. He said the best defense against COVID-19 are vaccinations and booster shots.
Nouri says you should still use physical distancing measures and wear masks.
Nouri adds that the COVID-19 vaccine is not a shield that will completely protect from either getting or transmitting the disease.
"That's not what it's meant for. It does reduce your risk of catching it or transmitting it significantly, but we see that less and less with these new variants," Nouri said. "...You can still catch the virus, you can still become ill, most cases are very mild."
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti wants residents to have a safe COVID-free holiday.
The mayor said it's important to "remember the things that keep us safe and secure: our vaccinations and boosters, our physical distancing and our testing."
Nouri wants to remind you if you are using COVID home-testing kits to use it at home before going to an event or family gathering.
"Testing while you are already at the venue - what's the point? You've already exposed everybody," Nouri said.
Manuel Martinez plans to attend a family gathering at his 88-year-old mother's home.
Martinez says event though everyone planning to attend the holiday family gathering is vaccinated they are still following COVID safety protocols.
"This year we have a tent we're going to have outside with tables and heaters," Martinez said. "And if the weather doesn't lend itself to gather together outside a lot of people are going to stay home because we don't want to be too close together inside the home."