Concern for COVID-19 spike after Thanksgiving

Published: Nov. 27, 2020 at 5:19 AM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - You’ve heard it many times, the holidays are different this year.

With coronavirus cases surging across the country, health officials have asked Americans to stay home to slow the spread.

A risk assessment tool put out by Georgia Tech shows the risk level of attending an event given the size, location, and precautions taken.

For example, if you went to a 10-person gathering in Sedgwick County, according to the map, you have a 42% chance of catching the virus. In Reno County, it’s up to 59%.

These kinds of odds have doctors concerned for the next few weeks, leading hospitals to prepare for a spike in patients.

The coronavirus pandemic forced some families to keep it small.

“There’s more food for myself, and everything went by quicker,” James Zimmerman said. “That is true,” Kaitlyn Holder said – they spent Thanksgiving together.

Some celebrated on Zoom or FaceTime.

“I just wanted to make sure my kids and I didn’t expose anyone … my parents or any other family members this year in case, god forbid, we had the virus. I’ve seen the horrible affect it has on individuals,” Jenna Holder, who lost her grandpa to COVID-19 a few months ago, said.

Some are still mourning the loss of loved ones this Thanksgiving, which is why some doctors asked people to stay home in advance, but that didn’t happen in many cases.

“I really hope that people will take this seriously and do the right thing,” Chuck Welsh with Hutchinson Regional Medical Center said. “I’m hoping that they will just, you know, chalk this up as the Thanksgiving of 2020, where we had to do remote visits and we had to save our hugs till next year. We had to wear masks.”

The CDC now projects that by Dec. 19, America will have suffered nearly 300,000 COVID-19 deaths.

Hospitals across the Midwest, including in Kansas, are already struggling to keep up with demand now, but doctors fear a surge in cases will come in the next two weeks.

“It’s going to be tough to bend this curve and to get this under control, at least in Reno County for sure,” Welsh said.

Hospitalizations in Sedgwick County have more than doubled in November and smaller hospitals across the region are filling up fast.

With record high transmission rates, it’s more important than ever to wear masks, take precautions and stay home -- so you and your family can enjoy Thanksgiving next year.

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