BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Doctors warned rising COVID rates and Thanksgiving gatherings can produce a deadly cocktail.
"The setting of large gatherings and a large community burden of disease with rising cases does not forebode well," Dr. Thomas Russo, Professor and Chief of Infectious Disease at the Jacobs School of Medicine, said.
"I've been worried about this. I've been talking about this for a while," Dr. Raul Vazquez, a physician at Urban Family Practice, said.
With COVID cases across Western New York increasing, doctors said you should take some extra steps to makes sure everyone at your Thanksgiving gathering is safe. Dr. Russo said if someone hasn't been recently vaccinated, they should go get tested and only join the celebration if their results are negative.
"I think thanksgiving dinner would be safe if everyone gathering for the festivities is fully vaccinated with that second shot in their arm within less than six months or if eligible for a booster shot, that they've already received one at least a week ago," Dr. Russo said.
"And if you don't have anybody with symptoms, I think you're fine. If you're sick, you need to be tested. You should probably stay home. I think those are the biggest thing right now. If you're not vaccinated, you should probably stay home," Dr. Vazuquez said.
Doctors said they are worried we could overwhelm our hospital system.
"When that occurs, outcomes are even worse not only for individuals infected with COVID but for individuals admitted for non COVID related health conditions," Dr. Russo said.
And if measures aren't taken to prevent that from happening, they warn we may find ourselves in another shut down.
"I'm preparing for a shut down in the next three to four weeks," Dr. Vazquez said.
"If we can just get through this Thanksgiving, religious holiday, New Years stretch, I think once we get into early 2022 we're going to be in a much better place," Dr. Russo said.