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10TV: Doctor Urges Precautions for Holidays

This year, Americans are being urged to skip holiday travel and only celebrate in person with the people who live in their homes to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.

“Nationally and as a state and in Columbus, if our rates go up after Thanksgiving, that’s going to be a really challenging time,” said Joe Gastaldo, MD, OhioHealth system medical director of infectious diseases in an interview with 10TV reporter Stephanie Stanavich. 

However, if you are choosing to gather, Dr. Gastaldo says there are some important precautionary measures to keep in mind. 

First, get a COVID test.  However, don't assume a negative result means you don't actually have it.

“People need to understand the limitations of testing before going to visit somebody. Number one, you can have a false negative test, specifically if you’re early on in the disease process,” Dr. Gastaldo told 10TV.  You may also contract the disease after your test due to community spread.

Also, don't assume that experiencing no symptoms doesn't mean you don't have the virus.

“It’s a very contagious virus and a significant amount of people can be asymptomatic when they have this infection, so if you’re going to visit somebody, it’s almost like you’re a trojan horse if you have the virus and are bringing it into the household,” Dr. Gastaldo told 10TV.

If you are gathering, make sure to wear a mask except when eating or drinking, washing your hands and staying at least six feet apart.  If you're inside, crack some windows to help with ventilation or stay outside if possibe.  And don't share utensils or serving spoons.  It's best to use disposable utensils and plates

The safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year?  At home, with only the people who live in your house.  Connect with people outside your home via services like Zoom, who is waiving it's 40 minute maximum on Thansgiving day.  

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