Dear Kim,

At long last it seems like COVID-19 is finally starting to go away at least in Connecticut. A lot of my friends are back to dating like before. Is that safe? Are there any precautions I should still be taking for COVID?

Thank you,

Cautiously Romantic

Dear Romantic,

Things have been looking up a lot for Connecticut which we are, of course, happy to see. Vaccination rates are some of the highest in the country, and COVID rates are quite low right now. While I certainly can’t tell you that dating carries zero COVID risk, I can give you some tips to stay as safe as possible.

First and foremost, make sure you’re vaccinated! Vaccinations are available at pharmacies, mobile clinics, hospitals, and more. The vaccine is your absolute best protection against getting sick from COVID. If you have the vaccine, interacting with someone who doesn’t is much lower risk than it would otherwise be, and the COVID risk of being with someone who also has the vaccine is nearly zero. 

Another good rule is to ALWAYS be skeptical of what people tell you. This goes not only for COVID, but for STDs as well. As much as we’d like to believe all our sexual partners are truthful, there are folks who will lie about being vaccinated or tested for COVID. I’m not saying never trust anyone again, but I am saying to err on the side of caution.

Communicate with your partners. Talk openly about COVID-19 risk, vaccinations, and exposures. Communication is the key to a physically, sexually, and mentally health relationship, be it a casual fling or a long-term commitment. 

Last: PLEASE be aware that STD rates have hit a record high for the sixth year in a row. Higher rates means higher chances of exposure. Be sure to practice safer sex and get tested every 6-12 months, when you have a new partner, or if you think you may have been exposed.

Be safe,

Kim