As area residents remain eager to celebrate a new year, city and county officials are urging caution as COVID-19 case counts and hospitalizations continue to rise.

Tarrant County Public Health officials reported nearly 6,000 confirmed cases during the week of Christmas. In addition, as of Dec. 23, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have forecasted a 35% increase in hospitalizations in Tarrant County by Jan. 5.

To help reduce the risk of spreading the virus, city of Fort Worth officials recommend celebrations take place virtually or with people living in the same household.

Any gatherings or activities involving people not living together are safer if held outdoors, officials said.

Additional tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention include:

When attending a party

  • Bring individual food, drinks, plates, cups, utensils and condiment packets.

  • Wear a mask indoors and outdoors

  • Avoid shouting or singing

  • Stay home if you are sick or have been near someone who thinks they may have or have been exposed to COVID-19

When hosting a party

  • Limit the number of guests

  • Have a small, outdoor celebration

  • Have extra unused masks available for guests

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items between use

  • If celebrating indoors, bring in fresh air by opening windows and doors

  • Have a separate space for guests to wash their hands or provide hand sanitizer

  • Keep the music volume low so guests don’t need to shout

  • Cancel your gathering if you or someone who lives with you is sick or has been near someone who thinks they have or has COVID-19