TAMPA, Fla. — A local doctor is suggesting people take several steps if they gather with loved ones around the holidays.
Dr. Paul Nanda, Chief Medical Officer at TGH Urgent Care Powered By Fast Track, does not recommend people get together for the holidays. He said families must consider the risks.
"It truly is the young, healthy people driving the infections into the people who are more vulnerable causing their death and that's really frustrating for me," said Dr. Nanda.
The CDC also stated gatherings with family and friends who do not live with you can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu.
Dr. Nanda said if families do decide to get together there are steps they may take to reduce the risk of getting or spreading COVID-19. He said families should designate one person to serve food and families should also use single-use disposable utensils and plates.
He also suggested families eat outside.
"The amount of virus particles, viral load that's in the air in a confined space is greater with people speaking, talking, and breathing, but if you're outdoors and you have a well-ventilated, well-circulated air flow, the chance of you inhaling some of those respiratory droplets if there's virus presence decreases," said Dr. Nanda.
State officials remind people that all state-supported sites will be closed on Thanksgiving. Results for a PCR test may take several days, but a PCR test is considered more accurate than a rapid test.
Dr. Nanda said getting a COVID-19 test does not mean people are in the clear.
"If you're too early in that presentation, you don't have enough viral antigen to pick up, you might have a negative rapid test result and still be positive," said Dr. Nanda. "If you're going to gather, try to be safe about it. Wash your hands before meals and have hand sanitizer out and try to use some of those small tips you can to decrease your risk."
For more information on state-supported testing sites, click here.