By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Along with the annual reminders to not drink and drive ahead of Super Bowl Sunday, public health officials are additionally urging people to stay home and watch the big game with their immediate families only.

Los Angeles County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said that the region is finally beginning to recover from a deadly surge of COVID-19 that was at least partly fueled by holiday gatherings. Considering that there are still high rates of spread, and the added complication of more infectious variants, she urged people to stay home.

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TAMPA, FL – FEBRUARY 02: A view of the Jose Gasparilla II with the battle flag of each of the NFL teams as well as the AFC Champion flag of the Kansas City Chiefs and the NFC Champion flag of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers along with the iconic Super Bowl LV logo floats in the Hillsborough River with Tampa General Hospital in the background days away from the playing of Super Bowl LV on February 2, 2020 at Tampa Convention Center, in Tampa, FL.

“This year no one should create any additional risk that would come with hosting or attending a party with people outside your immediate household,” she said. “This Sunday, play it safe and enjoy the game at home with those who live in your household.”

The Southern California region is finally headed in a positive direction in terms of the pandemic with rates of new infections, hospitalizations and deaths slowing down. But, gatherings inside private homes — where eating, drinking and cheering will undoubtedly take place – could easily become super-spreader events.

“A party can infect too many people who then carry the virus to others at their workplaces and in their homes. And in just two to three weeks, we’ll see our case numbers go back up,” Ferrer said.

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She again pleaded with the public in her Wednesday briefing for people to stay home and away from others they don’t live with.

“In the weeks following every holiday and every major sporting event, we’ve seen increases in cases, followed by hospitalizations and then deaths,” Ferrer said. “I understand this is normally a wonderful time to get together with friends and extended family. But this year, as you all know, is different and we don’t want or need another step backward in our recovery journey.”

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Riverside County health officials also issued a reminder to residents to limit their possible exposure this weekend. Residents who do attend gatherings were urged to wear a mask, avoid shared utensils, and keep a distance of six feet from people outside of their household. The CDC has also offered other tips people can take to stay safe if hosting or attending a Super Bowl watch party.

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“We’re not out of the woods yet and we don’t want to lose the progress we’ve made,” Riverside University Health System Director Kim Saruwatari said in a statement.