Home for the holidays takes on new meaning as health experts urge you to celebrate small and safely

Thanksgiving safety

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - As we head into the first holiday season with COVID-19, experts are warning Americans about the danger of getting together around the dinner table.

This comes as deaths from the coronavirus surpass a quarter million, and new cases surge.

“These metrics are heading in the wrong direction,” said Dr. Cara Christ of Arizona Department of Health Services during a press conference Wednesday.

AZHDS has released some guidance when it comes to celebrating safely this year.

“We ask all Arizonans to make plans for Thanksgiving that include moving your celebrations outside,” said Christ.

Even if you do move outdoors, that doesn’t mean increasing the guest list. AZDHS recommends keeping gatherings small, and to wear mask around those who aren’t in your immediate household. That means the kids home from college. And of course, go virtual if you’re not feeling well.

“Celebrating virtually with loved ones if you are elderly, sick, high risk, or recently exposed to someone with COVID 19,” said Christ.

When it comes to the meal, stay away from buffets and self-serve options. Have one person serve and hand out single use utensils. Or, have your guests bring their own.

“Have people eat in various places in the household, with their own family pod. Bring your own plates. Bring your own utensils. Bring your own serving dishes and take them home with you,” suggested Anne Rimoin, an Epidemiologist with UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.

Or as painful as it might be, experts said it might be best not to come together for Thanksgiving at all this year.

“My 100-percent medical opinion is that we need to sacrifice our holidays this year. We need to stay at home, in our own personal household bubble, for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s,” said Dr. James Phillips, Professor of Emergency Medicine, George Washington University Hospital.

Patterns indicate that we often see deaths from coronavirus starting to occur, about three-weeks after exposure.

And that could mean a spike in deaths at Christmas this year because of a potential Thanksgiving-surge.

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