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The Thanksgiving holiday is normally an exciting opportunity to gather with family and reconnect with friends we have not seen in a while. However, this year, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the impending holiday season is more stress inducing than it is exciting. This year, a typical Thanksgiving gathering—one that is indoors, lacks personal space, and does not have a mask in sight—is the perfect recipe for spreading COVID-19.
Chief Quality Officer for Summit CityMD Dr. Ashish Parikh understands that dealing with coronavirus stressors, ever-changing guidelines, and sacrificing time with those closest to us has been and will continue to be hard. With cases on the rise, the upcoming holiday gatherings concern him. But while we can’t completely eliminate the risk, he reminds us that there are things we can do to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.
Skip the gathering.
The safest thing to do is skip the Thanksgiving gathering altogether, and instead, consider other options.
It is critically important that you stay home if you are feeling sick or experiencing symptoms, if you have knowingly encountered someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, or if you are older or immunocompromised.
Tailor your gathering.
Limiting your celebration to those who live within your household is best, but if you must meet up with others, consider the size of the gathering. Even small gatherings have been contributing to the growing number of cases. So keep your group as small as possible and try to:
If you absolutely must have Thanksgiving with non-household members:
Avoid Public Transportation and Air Travel.
Thanksgiving is normally a time where families travel to be together, but traveling, whether by air or by bus, only increases your chances of contracting and/or spreading coronavirus and even the flu. Staying home is optimal, but if you must travel, driving is the best option. Just be sure to follow individual state guidelines and maintain standard safety precautions such as wearing a mask, washing your hands, and practicing social distancing.
Summit Medical Group’s Director of Infection Prevention, Dr. Daniel Hart’s largest concern as we approach the holidays is the onset of COVID fatigue, a sense of exhaustion induced by the ongoing challenges presented by the pandemic. “With that fatigue comes participation in risky behavior and defiance of guidelines,” says Dr. Hart. “But with a surge in coronavirus cases and several community spikes, now is not the time to drop our guard. It’s time to dig deep and use all the knowledge and information we’ve gathered to this point to protect ourselves and those around us against this second wave.”
Some additional things to remember:
Although it may not feel good to say no, now is not the time to take a risk. Remember, the safest choice is to stay home. This Thanksgiving can still be one to remember. You’ll just need to cook up a plan to stay safe.
For more tips and tricks on ways to stay safe during the holidays, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.