How to celebrate Thanksgiving during the Coronavirus Pandemic

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HAMILTON COUNTY, Tenn (WDEF) – Thanksgiving is all about gathering around the table sharing pie and turkey-not the Coronavirus-with our family and friends.

But health officials say that with the recent surge in Covid-19 cases across the US,  it may be more critical than ever to protect ourselves and our loved ones. 

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That doesn’t mean abandoning the holidays or family traditions, but it may mean being more creative this season and taking time to prepare.

“The traditional thanksgiving foods are all on the table and everyone is reaching over, sharing and passing it around. All you need is for one person to be infectious and that will spread very easily. Be creative, change the foods, change how you present them. Maybe bring individual portions,” says Dr. Carlos Baleeiro, CHI Critical Care Director.

Officials encourage families to consider the risk of their holiday gatherings.

Lower risk activities include celebrating at home with household members only.

Hosting a small gathering of non-household members outside on your patio or lawn would be a moderate risk and the activity considered to be of the highest risk would be hosting or attending a large indoor gathering, attending a parade or shopping in crowded stores.

With pandemic fatigue setting in, medical advisors are concerned about the holidays and say that with Covid-19 numbers climbing, this is no time to let our guard down.

“Our Covid-19 cases are at an all time high. Our community as a whole is really covid stressed right now. But if we don’t take some serious steps moving towards the holidays we look at making a bad situation even worse,” says Dr. Jay Sizemore, Erlanger Infectious Disease. 

“This is not time to give up. We’re winning, we really are winning even though it may not seem like it sometimes. We are running a marathon and we see a vaccine on the horizon. We’re all tired. We’re all in this together. Everybody is pulling together. No one is exempt from this,” says Dr. Paul Hendricks, Hamilton County Health Officer

Health officials also suggest that If you decide to travel this holiday season, plan days to self-quarantine when returning home from your visit. 

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Joeli Poole joined the WDEF News 12 Team in April 2019 as a Reporter and Producer. You can find her reporting during the week and when not on camera; she's producing the 6 and 11 shows. Joeli grew up with a love for reporting, starting in middle school. She has been the anchor for her middle and high school TV stations, along with the Sports Anchor for her College TV Station. Joeli grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and moved to Tennessee when she 10 years old. She went to Cleveland Middle school and Walker Valley High School. She graduated in May of 2019 from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a bachelor's degree in Communications. Being from the area, Joeli loves being able to help tell the stories of her community. In her spare time, Joeli enjoys watching her LSU Tigers, hiking, and playing with her dog. Feel free to email any story ideas at jpoole@wdef.com.