KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Area hospitals continue to worry as COVID-19 patient cases keep climbing.
They’re urging families to re-think Thanksgiving plans to stop the virus from spreading out of control, and have some tips for how to keep gatherings as safe as possible.
At the University of Kansas Health System, a new record of 77 patients are now taking up beds, receiving COVID-19 care. Experts fear holiday gatherings will only drive those numbers higher.
“We won’t know the effects of the gatherings at Halloween for probably two to six weeks down the road, but even without that we’re starting to see rises,” said Dr. Steven Stites, University of Kansas Health System pulmonology and critical care specialist.
As you plan your Thanksgiving celebration this year, doctors continue to caution to focus on keeping your gathering small.
“This year instead of saying it’s bad, let’s say it’s different and figure out what we can do that’s still great and be different,” Stites said.
Julie from Cass County learned the hard way that even small gatherings can be a place where COVID-19 spreads. It happened to her family after a recent dinner with friends at a restaurant. Several in their group, later tested positive for coronavirus.
“No one in our group that day, that we knew of, nobody had symptoms, but all started showing symptoms the same Tuesday,” Julie said.
As you plan holiday celebrations, experts suggest eating outside if the weather is nice. If you’re stuck indoors, consider additional precautions.
“Try seating people within their own bubbles if coming from different households. Spreading chairs out as much as possible,” said Jeff Novorr, University of Kansas Health System VP of Support Services.
It’s also suggested you avoid a buffet style meal.
“Be a great host and plate those plates up so you’re minimizing who is touching those utensils and serving platters and make it a little bit different,” Novorr said.
Even if it feels uncomfortable, asking guests to wear masks as much as possible can make a big difference.
“Remember one of our goals for this Thanksgiving should be thankful to be here for the next Thanksgiving,” Stites said.