AU Health says you should consider several options this Thanksgiving

Published: Nov. 19, 2020 at 3:12 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Augusta University Health says it’s actually OK to imagine the worst-case scenario as you make decisions on your Thanksgiving plans. Health officials are bracing for the holiday season.

With COVID-19 cases rising in our area along with much of the country it’s a recipe coming together for Thanksgiving no one will like.

“People need to consider the risk,” Dr. Phillip Coule said.

Coule recommends making gatherings much smaller this year, distance tables, or wear masks.

“Consider that those that are particularly most vulnerable to COVID having a bad outcome,” Coule said.

Traveling out of state throws another wrench into it. Health officials say it’s about managing risk. A tool from Georgia Tech shows your risk in each county based on event size. Some places in Tennessee show a more than 80 percent chance of coming in contact with someone who has COVID-19 in a group of 50 people.

“I think people should seriously reevaluate whether or not you want the short-term goal of being tired of the pandemic and wanting a sense of normalcy for this Thanksgiving,” Coule said.

In some states, hospital beds are filling up. Our local hospitals are preparing to help.

“If we receive requests to transfer COVID patients from outside, we’d take those patients if we have the capacity to care for them,” Coule said.

This is the midst of preparing for a vaccine. Health officials are trying to communicate how safe these vaccines are.

“For most vaccines, we are happy if we get to 50 to 60 percent efficacy. So 95 percent effective is excellent news,” Coule said.

And it’s hope for better Thanksgiving holidays down the road.

“Perhaps defer this year and maybe plan for next year for having a more normal Thanksgiving,” Coule said.

Coule says consider having your Thanksgiving meal outside. One of the main places public health officials are seeing cases spread is at dine-in restaurants.

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