Erie County Health Commissioner, Dr. Gale Burstein say this holiday season you have to remember to believe in science and listen to the science. She says the science tells us that if we have a large number of people or even a small gathering of people and someone in the room has COVID-19, that will spread very quickly and many of the times they are not systematic. She goes on to say we know there are a lot of vulnerable people in our lives that can become very ill and need hospitalization and even die from COVID-19 if they get infected. This year we need to think about having a different kind of Thanksgiving, a small Thanksgiving. It is safer if we have the meal with just people that live in the household and share in the celebration virtually. Dr. Burstein says we know we have so much COVID-19 in our community and even small gatherings we’re seeing outbreaks, and we are calling them living room outbreaks.
Some people really feel, for whatever reason, it’s important that they get together with people maybe from their family that they don’t live with. There is a strategy to deal with that. Everyone should quarantine for two weeks and also getting a test at the end of the two week quarantine period is a good idea. However, she says, we can’t test our way out of this. She says, say you are getting a test in preparation for Thanksgiving on a Monday or Tuesday and it is negative, it doesn’t predict that Thursday you would still be negative because you didn’t get tested on Thursday. The safest strategy is to have a small Thanksgiving dinner with the people in your household and then have a super expanded Thanksgiving virtually with all the people you really want to see. Dr. Burstein says there are plenty of opportunities to celebrate with friends and families virtually this year and we are doing this as investment so next year we can have everyone at the table because we will all have gotten through this global pandemic.