COVID-19 precautions like staying inside and staying apart may not fit most people’s idea of a Thanksgiving celebration, but with a few modifications, you can still enjoy the holiday while keeping your loved ones safe.
Curbing the spread of COVID-19 is especially important now that cases are on the rise in Victoria County again. Victoria County Public Health Department Director David Gonzales said the rapid increase in cases this month is a sign that Victoria, like most of the country, is experiencing a second spike.
“We’ve seen cases rising across the country and the state, so it was only a matter of time before we saw an increase here,” Gonzales said. “It’s definitely concerning as we head into the colder months, when respiratory infections spread more easily.”
Limiting contact with those outside one’s household continues to be a sure defense against COVID-19, which means the safest way to observe Thanksgiving is by forgoing a traditional gathering and celebrating with your immediate family. However, if you do choose to attend or host a gathering, there are several steps you can take to prevent COVID-19 from spreading in our community.
Limit the size of your gathering. One of the most effective precautions you can take is to swap your large Thanksgiving feast for a small get-together with a few friends or family members. The fewer people you have contact with, the smaller the chance that you’ll be exposed.
Mask-wearing still applies. If you’re spending the holiday with people from outside your household, follow the same guidelines that you would in a public place, such as wearing masks and spreading out as much as possible. When it’s time to eat and the masks come off, make sure you’re seated at least six feet away from the other guests.
Go outside. Take advantage of the nice weather we’ve been having by moving your Thanksgiving meal outside. The virus doesn’t spread as easily outdoors (although mask-wearing is still recommended), and you’ll be able to spread out more effectively.
Serve food safely. Instead of having a traditional buffet-style Thanksgiving spread, come up with creative ways to practice food safety. This could include assigning one person to serve the food, using disposable plates and silverware, using single-serve condiment packets or asking guests to bring their own food and drinks.
Stay home if you’re sick. Monitor yourself for COVID-19 symptoms, which include fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, body aches, headache, loss of taste or smell, congestion, runny nose, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Remember that symptoms vary between patients, so if you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, you may want to stay home this year. Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
For more information about how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on Thanksgiving and throughout the year, visit www.cdc.gov. For local updates and information about COVID-19, visit the Victoria County Public Health Department’s Facebook page.
Sam Hankins is the communications specialist for the City of Victoria.