As Hood River County residents make their plans for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, the health department is urging people to stay safe amid a surge in COVID-19 cases.
“This is a critical time in the pandemic, when we are seeing a rise in community transmission of COVID-19 in the county, state, nation and worldwide,” said Hood River County Public Health Officer Christopher Van Tilburg, M.D.
The health department reported 12 new county cases on Wednesday, the largest number in a single day. It also announced the second death of a Hood River County resident from COVID-19.
“Instead of asking, ‘Is it safe to travel?’ or ‘Can I get a test before traveling?,’ ask, ‘How can I still make a connection with family and friends without traveling or in-person interaction?’” he said.
Consider these safer alternatives to celebrating Thanksgiving in person:
- Trade side dishes with family or friends who live nearby instead of eating together, and say hello outdoors when you deliver them
- Watch live football games in separate houses but text each other throughout the game
- Zoom or FaceTime with the entire family before your meal
- Meet up with family or friends outdoors for an after-dinner walk in your neighborhood or in open spaces like the waterfront or Mosier Twin Tunnels
If you have houseguests coming for the holidays who are not part of your household — such as students returning home from college — be sure they quarantine before coming; wear masks while indoors; don’t congregate in shared spaces like the kitchen; use separate bathrooms; wipe surfaces regularly; and have hand sanitizer available throughout the house and near key areas like the kitchen table and front door.
This year, the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving with friends and family who are not part of your household is apart.
“Remember, the actions you take now and during Thanksgiving may impact your friends, family and community two to four weeks down the road. You don’t want to cause those you care about to become sick with COVID-19,” Dr. Van
Tilburg said. “Small sacrifices now may prevent large, deadly sacrifices later.”