COVID-19 cases are on the rise and Thanksgiving is the time of year where indoor gatherings are the norm. That’s a recipe for serious caution if you want to avoid the coronavirus, says Dr. Jonathan Baktari, CEO of Las Vegas-based e7 Health.
“Thanksgiving brings quite the challenge. We’re talking about bringing families together. I always say that this is still a numbers game, and the bigger the number of people getting together, the greater the risk,” Baktari said.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak recently encouraged Nevadans to embrace the mentality of “Stay at Home 2.0” to help control the pandemic. In line with that sentiment, Dr. Baktari says the safest decision is to stay home and enjoy the Thanksgiving with those who live with you. But if you’re going to visit with other family members or friends, here are some tips to consider.
· Limit group size. Keep it as small as possible. Think twice before adding in layers of people beyond your immediate family or people you’re not regularly in contact with. This year is not good for inviting that neighbor you don’t often see or that friend from out of town and others.
“Ideally, you want to stick with people in your bubble, that first layer of people you come into contact with regularly. You have to be careful with people outside of that. Again, the larger the group, the greater the risk.”
· Consider the habits and attitudes of others when making your guest list. If a friend or relative has a cavalier attitude towards the pandemic, then he or she may potentially make decisions that put them at risk. If you are more diligent and cautious than that friend or relative you want to invite, you might reconsider the invitation.
· Dine with social distancing in mind. Keep the six-foot social distancing guidance in mind. If two families are coming together. Each group can sit together with some space between the two groups, similar to clustered seating found at church, sporting events and in movie theatres, Baktari said. And, if the weather permits, dine outside, if possible.
· Serve safely. Ideally, have one person serve everyone. Even better, have the individual plates pre-set before the group convenes. If you prefer to serve buffet style, make sure people don’t share utensils.
· Talk to elders before inviting them. If you have older relatives who are immune compromised or have other health vulnerabilities, you may have to reconsider inviting them. If you do invite them, think of ways to maintain safe distances and make sure everyone else who is coming to the gathering does not have symptoms. Wearing masks is also good practice.
“You don’t want your gathering to be the reason an elder gets sick,” Baktari said. “If you don’t invite elderly relatives, arrange for them to break bread at the same time and add them to the dinner on Zoom. An iPad in front of two empty seats would be a nice touch.”
· Consider testing. It may feel like overkill to some, but more and more families are embracing the idea of testing everyone before a gathering. With cases rising, the physician encourages people to be extra cautious.
“It’s not the norm, but I know people who have grandparents tested before they can see their grandchildren,” Baktari added.
To learn more about e7 Health, visit: e7health.com or call 702-800-2723.