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ThedaCare urges no gatherings, offers safety recommendations for Thanksgiving

Published: Nov. 24, 2020 at 4:53 PM CST
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FOX VALLEY, Wis. (WBAY) - With COVID-19 cases still rampant and hospitals near capacity, healthcare workers hope people stay home for the holidays.

“We do expect that with the gatherings that are going to happen no matter what the numbers will start to spike and surge, as they already have,” said Dr. Long Nguyen, a Family Physician with ThedaCare.

Dr. Nguyen is concerned what more cases would bring considering where things stand now.

“Hospitals are at capacity. We are barely able to admit patients on an every single day basis right now,” said Dr. Nguyen. “Patients are coming and staying a lot longer than they normally would because of COVID. So everyone is being pushed to their limits.”

Which is why healthcare professionals are urging people to avoid gathering for Thanksgiving this year.

“Ideally, if you have the capabilities, you can do Thanksgiving online,” said Dr. Nguyen. “You can set up laptops, you can have phones set up so that you are interacting with everyone.”

But if you have to be in-person, Dr. Nguyen has some suggestions.

“It’s ideal you keep the number as low as possible. We’re suggesting less than 10. This would just give enough space for wherever you’re gathering to be six-feet apart, that you’re able to wear masks,” said Dr. Nguyen.

He also suggests one person should handle the food to limit germ spread, and to meet in a place with good air ventilation or open windows.

Dr. Nguyen also wants to make sure people understand asymptomatic people can spread COVID-19 without even realizing they’re infected, which is why even if you’re not experiencing symptoms it’s advised to quarantine.

“It’s really important that if you ‘re going to gather that you quarantine 14 days before the gathering but also 14 days after the gathering,” said Dr. Nguyen. “If at any point you have symptoms you want to make sure you tell everyone at the gathering that you have symptoms, [then] everyone go get tested.”

Dr. Nguyen believes avoiding gatherings altogether will keep families safer, particularly those who are older and more at risk.

“I think by limiting the interactions, by decreasing the risk of them getting COVID may actually increase their chance of being around next year and multiple years beyond it,” said Dr. Nguyen.

He, and other healthcare workers know not seeing loved ones is tough.

“All of the healthcare workers have been doing this on a daily basis ever since February, March,” said Dr. Nguyen. “We’ve been on the frontlines every day not being able to see our own families.”

But Dr. Nguyen believes making smart health choices now, will lead to a better future.

“It’s a really tough, long year,” said Dr. Nguyen. “But I have confidence that as we move forward into 2021 things are going to start changing, we’re going to get a better handle at this, and we don’t want this to get out of hand where we’re starting to make decisions we do not want to make.”

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