December 2, 2021

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Keep Fit & Healthy

How to stay safe from COVID-19 at Thanksgiving

3 min read

Testing, vaccines, and mask wearing are all suggestions from health experts for the Thanksgiving holiday

CLEVELAND — Ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, health experts are sharing recommendations to help families stay safe if they’re gathering together for Turkey Day this year.

“Make sure you’re not carrying anything to Thanksgiving other than the sides you’re supposed to bring,” said Benjamin Robison, Wood County health commissioner.

Robison suggested people have a family plan heading into the holiday, which can include getting tested for COVID-19.

“These rapid tests are really great because they can be completed in just a short amount of time,” he said. “They can be taken shortly before you engage in your holiday celebrations. It gives you a chance to get another piece of information, to see if you might have COVID and not have realized it.”

RELATED: Summit County Public Health offering free COVID tests as cases climb

The Ohio COVID-19 dashboard has a page where you can find testing sites near you

On Tuesday morning, Ohio health officials reported rising cases and hospitalizations across the state, particularly in Northwest Ohio, with 742.4 cases per 100,000 residents.

On a national scale, on Monday, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said there was an 18 percent increase from last week’s seven-day daily case average.

According to doctors, the best line of defense in protecting yourself and your loved ones against the virus is getting vaccinated.

“The best way to help you, protect you from becoming dangerously ill and requiring hospitalization, is to get vaccinated,” said Dr. Kenneth Remy at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children’s.

Dr. Remy also reminded people to continue following COVID-19 guidelines that have been suggested throughout the pandemic like hand washing, masking, and social distancing.

“Being around neighbors and friends that you may not have seen on a regular basis, especially indoors, we would certainly recommend maintaining those tenets of social distancing and mask wearing unless you’re eating,” he said. “And try to minimize the time that you have that mask taken off.”

RELATED: Health officials urge you to pack a vaccine for the holiday

Even during the meal, Dr. Remy suggested keeping your mask close.

“Just having the wherewithal to have that mask ready to be put back on your face in between your turkey bites and your stuffing bites, that’s reasonable,” he said.

Dr. Remy also recommended that if you’re feeling symptomatic or get a positive COVID-19 test, you stay home and try another option- like a virtual or Zoom gathering, instead. 

“We’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, we’re going to get there,” said Dr. Remy. “I think the best way we can get there is just hang on a little bit longer. Get your vaccine and protect yourself in the interim wearing masks and social distancing.” 

You can watch a briefing with Ohio Department of Health officials regarding COVID-19 and the holiday season in the player below:

RELATED: Claim that Wednesday before Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day needs context

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