How to Stay Safe From COVID-19 This Thanksgiving

Like most things in 2020, this year's Thanksgiving celebrations will look a lot different than in past years. With COVID-19 cases on the rise in 49 states, and hospitalizations spiking throughout Tennessee, many are altering their holiday plans to decrease the spread of coronavirus. 

Staying home is the best means of protecting yourself, but some people will still feel the pull to travel, host and gather with family. How can those plans be made safer? Here are a few helpful resources and ideas:

• This week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidelines for making Thanksgiving safe, including these helpful infographics designed to be easily distributed to your employees: Everyone Can Make Thanksgiving Safer and Consider Other Thanksgiving Activities.

• MySouthernHealth posted a story today on how to make smaller family gatherings both special and safe. Some of the tips:

  • Hold gatherings outside. If that's not possible, increase ventilation by opening windows and doors.
  • Limit group size.
  • Avoid close-contact gestures such as hugs or hand shakes.
  • Don't serve buffet-style—ask everyone to bring their own food.
  • As always, practice preventive measures such wearing masks, washing hands regularly and staying socially distant. 

• For those with college-age children coming home for the holidays, VUMC infectious disease expert Dr. David Aronoff and infectious disease colleagues have a four-step plan to limit COVID-19 transmission: Starting eight days before returning home, students should self-sequestrate, test themselves two to three days before traveling, and practice preventive measures while traveling and at home.

• In the new video below from Vanderbilt Health, infectious disease experts Dr. Tom Talbot and Dr. William Schaffner talked with work/life relations expert Jim Kendall about how they were curtailing their traditional holiday plans to ensure the health of older and more vulnerable family members.

If you're traveling over Thanksgiving this year, there are many ways to ensure your celebration is safe from COVID-19 transmission.