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Health officials brace for COVID-19 surge from Thanksgiving gatherings

Published: Nov. 30, 2020 at 10:35 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Health officials across the country say that if you went to a Thanksgiving gathering with anyone outside your household or immediate family, you should assume you have been exposed to COVID-19 and should make plans to get tested while avoiding people who are high risk in the meantime.

“Hospitals have known that Thanksgiving was a time we encouraged folks to really keep their distance, and we think many folks did,” said Kansas Hospital Association Senior Vice President Cindy Samuelson. “It’s almosts too soon to tell, but we also know there were gatherings that happened and there is increased community spread as we’ve looked at the numbers, and we do think that will impact hospital capacity.”

Samuelson said there was a spike in cases after Halloween and it’s expected to be much worse from Thanksgiving with more families gathered.

“We are expecting to see a huge increase in numbers,” Butler County Health Director Jamie Downs said. “If you were with people other than your immediate family, we would recommend to think of yourself as potentially exposed, and taking precautions, some self-monitoring, some distancing from other people, so if you do have symptoms, you have not exposed other people.”

Now more than ever, health departments stress the importance of taking precautions this holiday season, wearing a mask in public and social distancing.

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