Health officials urge COVID -19 caution for Thanksgiving gatherings

Health officials urge COVID -19 caution for Thanksgiving gatherings

LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - As the COVID - 19 numbers continue to increase, the Comanche County Health Department is asking you to be as careful as possible when celebrating Thanksgiving later this week.

2020 has certainly been a rough year for many, with things continuing to get more difficult as we head into the holidays.

“It’s a heartbreaking time of year. Families are going through tremendous loss because of loved ones they’ve lost due to this virus and other reasons. Health care workers are stressed out and tired. Whatever we can do to prevent the spread of this virus, the better off we’re going to be as we move into the Christmas season,” said Health Department Regional Director Brandie Combs.

Brandie Combs said a big part of helping stop the spread is to avoid traveling if possible and to keep your gatherings as small as possible. But, for those who choose not to do so?

“If I could just ask them anything, we would want them to keep it small if at all possible, keep it outside or in a well-ventilated space. Ask your guests to wear a face mask when they’re not eating or drinking, I know that’s not comfortable possibly and it’s certainly not normal, it’s our new normal,” Combs said.

Combs encourages anyone heading home for Thanksgiving to, at the very least, get tested for COVID - 19 before traveling.

“If you have been in an area, especially thinking about college students coming home, we really encouraging them to get a test before you come home so at least you have an idea if you are going to introduce this virus to your family and you can take even more stringent precautions,” Combs said.

More testing options have become available in southwest Oklahoma in recent weeks with more resources soon to be on the way. That includes a new testing site at 38th and Gore in Lawton, as well as the potential for pharmacies to start testing in the coming weeks.

“Then, we’re bringing on federal partners as well, this weekend we’ll be testing here at the Health Department, HHS is coming in and they’re going to stand up a testing pod for us because frankly, we can’t have enough help at this point,” Combs said.

For Thanksgiving, The Health Department and the CDC ask that you remember the acronym T.H.A.N.K.S.

Take extra precautions while traveling.

Host in a space with good ventilation, preferably outdoors.

Ability to stay six feet apart.

No interaction with people with or exposed to COVID - 19.

Keep your mask on when not eating or drinking.

Small gatherings of family and friends.

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