Medical professionals urging COVID-19 safety measures ahead of Thanksgiving

Medical professionals urging COVID-19 safety measures ahead of Thanksgiving

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Thanksgiving is a week away and as you finalize your plans, medical professionals want you to keep coronavirus precautions in mind.

Chief Nursing Officer Elizabeth Later said St. Francis Hospital in Columbus is preparing a surge plan because she said no matter how hard they emphasize not gathering in large groups, she knows people are going to do it anyway.

Whether you’re craving a thanksgiving turkey or pumpkin pie, this year’s holiday season is looking very different than in year’s past.

“We would encourage people to really follow the guidelines around not having a lot of people together outside of the people who live in your household,” Later said.

Later said with coronavirus cases rising across the country, it’s better safe than sorry.

“It’s not worth getting together if everybody gets sick,” she said.

Later suggests virtual celebrations for Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. She said if you absolutely have to gather, wear a mask and try to stay outside.

“I know it feels weird to wear a mask when you’re around family, but masks really do work,” Later said.

“This has everything to do with the golden rule, help your neighbor, love them as you love yourself, because if you wear the mask and do what you need to do, then we’ll have a lot less issues on the medical and financial side,” Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson said.

St. Francis Hospital and the city of Columbus are preparing for a possible surge of COVID-19 cases after the holidays.

“Do we have enough ICU beds? Do we have enough ventilators? Do we have enough medications we use for people who are on ventilators? All of those are preparations since COVID started,” Later said.

If you’re trying to think of a fun way to celebrate the holiday virtually, Later suggests a cooking competition and comparing recipes, or getting matching pajamas for a video chat night of fun.

Later said it is safe to travel and it is safe to fly. She suggests bringing your own hand sanitizer and limit what you touch. She also recommends bringing not one, but two masks to stay safe.

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