COLUMBUS (WCMH) – With many people gathering to celebrate Halloween, health experts want to remind many Ohioans the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over–and they need to keep themselves and each other healthy.

Dr. Joseph Gastaldo at Ohio Health said though COVID-19 cases are dropping, they are still not at the numbers they would like to see.

“It is not the time to celebrate,” he said.

Gastaldo is encouraging anyone who was in an enclosed area or attended a large gathering to consider getting a COVID-19 test to protect themselves and the people around them.

“Home testing is available,” he said. “You can get them at the pharmacy. There are many different home tests out there, they’re antigen-based tests–and do perform very well.”

Gastaldo said if someone is looking for a good reason to get tested, they should consider the immunocompromised or those who haven’t received the COVID-19 shot yet.

“This virus is not going away,” Gastaldo said. “For us locally, this pandemic will eventually end and become an endemic virus, meaning there is always going to be a baseline of this virus. We really need to think about, in our minds, how to best protect ourselves.”

He said it’s important everyone gets vaccinated and is cautious of their surroundings, especially with other holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas quickly approaching.