As the Thanksgiving and winter holidays approach, many residents may be wondering how to celebrate safely this season. While travel and large gatherings are typically common during this time of year, it is still vital to remember that we all have an important role to play in slowing the spread of COVID-19.
COVID-19 cases continue to climb in our health district, just as they are in the region, the state and the nation. We are now averaging more than 200 cases per day, more than any time since early June. The percent of positive PCR tests for COVID-19 is now over 7 percent – also the highest since June. So far as of Nov. 17, deaths and hospitalizations for COVID-related illness are not increasing as significantly, though these generally trail case increases by several weeks.
Although community spread is occurring in all areas of the county, Hispanics continue to bear a disproportionate burden compared to other racial and ethnics groups – they’re currently more than three times as likely to get COVID-19 infection than Whites who are not Hispanic.
We must not let our guard down, even around friends and family, and should continue to practice safe gathering practices and social distancing. Even though how we celebrate might look a little different this year, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy Thanksgiving and celebrate safely.
Make this your most relaxing Thanksgiving ever by following the guidelines below.
Higher-risk activities that are not recommended this year include:
• Higher-risk: Going shopping in crowded stores just before, on or after Thanksgiving.
• Higher-risk:Participating or being a spectator at a crowded race.
• Higher-risk: Attending crowded parades.
• Higher-risk: Attending large indoor gatherings with people from outside of your household.
Some additional alternatives that have been determined to have a moderate level of risk include:
• Moderate risk: Having a small outdoor dinner with family and friends who live in your community.
• Moderate risk: Visiting pumpkin patches or orchards where people use hand sanitizer before touching produce, wearing masks is encouraged or enforced, and people are able to maintain social distancing.
• Moderate risk: Attending small outdoor sports events with safety precautions in place.
Activities for the upcoming holiday that are considered lower risk include:
• Lower risk: Having a small dinner with people who live in your household.
• Lower risk: Having a virtual dinner and sharing recipes with friends and family.
• Lower risk: Preparing recipes for family and neighbors and delivering them in a way that doesn’t involve contact with others. This is a great option for sharing the holiday spirit with those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
• Lower risk: Shopping online (rather than in person) on the day after Thanksgiving and other sales holidays.
• Lower risk: Watching sports events, parades and movies from home.
As always, here are a few additional things to consider as you plan your holidays:
• Don’t forget: If you or anyone in your household has COVID-19, has symptoms of COVID-19, are waiting for test results, or may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you should not participate in in-person activities and should not share food with others. People with increased risk for severe illness should also avoid in-person gatherings with non-household members and consider lower risk activities.
• Don’t forget: You can further lower your risk during holiday get-togethers by following CDC’s recommendations on holiday celebrations and hosting gatherings or cook-outs.
• Don’t forget: If you are preparing meals for others, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before beginning your meal prep. Learn more about food safety.
• Don’t forget: Traveling increases the chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Find out more about traveling during the pandemic.