A family celebrating Thanksgiving virtually with others.
Healthy Living

Thanksgiving and COVID-19: Know the Risks

Nov 23 2021

Celebrating milestones looked different last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but this year people are planning their traditional celebrations. With COVID-19 cases still on the rise, here are some simple ways you can keep yourself and your loved ones healthy if you are hosting or attending an in-person gathering this year.

Are you traveling?

Regardless of how you travel, you come in close contact with others and can potentially expose yourself to COVID-19 unknowingly.

In the airport, waiting in line to go through security and board a plane puts you in close contact with others. If you drive your own vehicle to your destination, each time you stop for gas, food or the restroom, you may be around other people.

Follow these precautions to protect yourself and those around you.

  • Being fully vaccinated prior to travel is the best way to protect yourself and others from the virus. If you are not fully vaccinated, get tested before and after your trip.
  • If you are not fully vaccinated or have underlying conditions, wear a face mask properly when around other people, including loved ones.
  • Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
  • When you’re in close contact with others, stay away from those who are showing symptoms of illness.

And finally, don’t forget to research the latest traveling requirements for the place you are going.

Celebrate Thanksgiving with family safely

If you are hosting or attending a Thanksgiving gathering, celebrate traditions while keeping loved ones safe.

  • Ask guests to get their full dose(s) of the COVID-19 immunization and their flu vaccine.
  • Wear a mask if you are not fully vaccinated, except for when you are eating and drinking.
  • Wash your hands often, including before and after eating. If your meals are self-serve, keep a bottle of sanitizer by the food and drink areas to encourage guests to sanitize their hands before filling up their plates or cups.
  • Reschedule or celebrate virtually if you or anyone joining your celebration are exposed to sickness or someone with COVID-19 prior to the get-together.

Some alternative celebration ideas for those not attending in-person events include:

  • Sharing a virtual dinner with loved ones. Choose your favorite video chat app and set up a camera at the dinner table. You’ll still be able to talk and laugh as you eat your favorite holiday foods.
  • Delivering meals to others. Prepare and drop off holiday meals to neighbors or family and friends who cannot celebrate with their loved ones or who have been financially affected by the pandemic.
  • Visiting an outdoor pumpkin patch, apple orchard or Christmas tree farm. Use hand sanitizer, practice social distancing and wear masks for greater protection.

When should I stay home?

You should absolutely stay home if you are feeling sick or have recently tested positive for COVID-19. Even if you are asymptomatic, you can spread the virus to other people. Stay home and isolate from others.

If you’ve been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 or are waiting for the results of a test, you need to stay home. You should self-quarantine for 10 days after your most recent exposure.

Stay updated on what Mercy Health is doing related to COVID-19.

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