Giving Thanks and Staying Safe
BY KATIE CAVENDER
We all know the main purpose of Thanksgiving is gratitude, but it has so many other purposes as well: hugging family members, waiting on a turkey that seems like it should have been done cooking an hour ago and catching up with loved ones. Traditions make Thanksgiving what it is, but this year may have to look a little different.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that if you answer “yes” to any of these questions, consider making other plans.
Are you, someone in your household or someone you will be visiting at increased risk for getting very sick from COVID-19?
Are cases high or increasing in your community or your destination? Check CDC’s COVID Data Tracker for the latest number of cases.
During the 14 days before your travel, have you or those you are visiting had close contact with people they don’t live with?
Do your plans include traveling by bus, train or air which might make staying 6 feet apart difficult?
Are you traveling with people who don’t live with you?
On Nov. 17, the state of Pennsylvania announced four new ways to help reduce the spread. These mitigation efforts include an outline of hospital expectations, COVID-19 testing for travelers entering the state, a strengthened masking order and recommendations for colleges and universities. The implications on Thanksgiving plans include:
Loved ones from out of state will require a COVID-19 test (effective Nov. 20) – Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine issued an order requiring anyone who visits from another state to have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to entering the commonwealth. If someone cannot get a test or chooses not to, he or she must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvanians visiting other states are required to have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to returning to the commonwealth or to quarantine for 14 days upon return to Pennsylvania. This order does not apply to people who commute to and from another state for work or medical treatment.
You will need to wear a mask when with others from outside your household – Through this new order, masks are required when you are inside an indoor facility (including homes) with people who do not live in your household – even if you are able to be 6 feet apart.
Family talk: Start the conversation now
Start discussing holiday plans now. Talk to your loved ones about your concerns, ask what safety precautions they’ve taken leading up to the gathering. Find common ground and come up with a solution that works for everyone. Here are a few ideas:
Come together with masks – Wear a mask and find ways to be socially distant while eating, especially if your gathering includes people who are outside your household or includes people who are at risk for complications from COVID-19.
Dine together virtually – Plan a time to sit at the table with your laptop and eat with your extended family virtually.
Gather outside – Gather around a fire pit or play cornhole to have family time.
Thanksgiving delivery – Do you have a well-loved Thanksgiving dish? Prepare it and drop off portions at loved ones’ homes.
Protect your loved ones and your community
If you have any symptoms of illness, stay home. We have virtual care options to make sure you receive the care you need at home. To learn more, visit LVHN.org/virtual.