Thanksgiving amid pandemic: Health officials say gather, but be cautious

Local News

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU/WLAX) – For the second straight year, Thanksgiving will be different because of the pandemic. Prevea Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ken Johnson said people can still gather but they have to be cautious.

“My recommendations are to limit the size of gatherings, to make and socially distance as much as you can,” he said. “If you’re exposed to COVID in the week prior, don’t go. Don’t put your family members at risk.”

Johnson said people should also stay home if they’re feeling sick this Thanksgiving.

“Thanksgiving is about family and giving thanks for the things in your life that are going well and one of those things needs to be to make sure that we keep our families safe and healthy,” he said.

Sergio Velasquez of Chippewa Falls said he usually spends Thanksgiving with about 50 relatives. For the second consecutive year, he won’t be sharing a holiday dinner with them.

“Unfortunately, we’re not doing that this year,” he said. “Dialing it back a little bit but we’re still doing some kind of Skyping with the bigger family so we can still get that sense of everyone being together.”

Johnson said even if people are being cautious with a small gathering, it’s probably a good idea for those at higher risk to stay home.

“Zoom, call, FaceTime, but if they’re at high risk of getting severe disease, don’t expose them,” he said.

He added it’s a good idea to limit gatherings to those who are fully vaccinated.

Johnson also recommended getting tested right before Thanksgiving regardless of vaccination status.

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