Tampa Bay area doctors give holiday gathering recommendations ahead of Thanksgiving

Posted at 6:41 PM, Nov 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-06 18:41:10-05

TAMPA, Fla. — COVID-19 cases are on the rise across the country with Thanksgiving just three weeks away. So how should you gather with your family during the pandemic?

Bay area doctors along with the CDC are sharing suggestions to help keep you and your family safe over the holidays.

“Virtual is the way to go, but if not, take the proper precautions,” said AdventHealth’s Dr. John Morrison.

Dr. Morrison echoes the CDC, which noted: “celebrating virtually or with members of your own household poses low risk for spread.”

If you do gather in person, the CDC recommends hosting gatherings outdoors rather than inside and limiting the number of people at a party. The CDC says to bring supplies like extra masks, hand sanitizer and tissues, wash your hands often, and of course, you’ll want to social distance.

The CDC warns people that traveling increases the chance of getting and spreading COVID-19.

“The worst-case scenario was where if you visit a loved one and then you as your traveling contract COVID and then you pass it on to the loved one and they end up dying from the disease,” said Dr. Morrison. “I don’t think anyone wants that.”

If you have to be inside, USF Health’s Dr. Marissa Levine suggests opening doors and windows as well as wearing a mask.

The CDC notes that you or anyone in your household should not host or participate in any in-person gatherings if you have COVID-19 symptoms, are waiting for test results or are at increased risk of severe illness.

“If we start bringing different families together, people from different areas, then we increase the risk of spread, and unfortunately, the best place to catch COVID and the quickest place to catch COVID is in your own household or in the households of other people in gatherings like this,” said Dr. Levine.

Levine says this year, people have to take inventory of what’s happening in the community and what you and your family's risks are. Both doctors also want people to get the flu shot if they haven’t already.

“I know everyone wants to get together. It’s sort of a tradition, but you know, there’s always next year,” said Dr. Morrison.