Virginia health officials say COVID-19 case numbers are higher than they’d like for the holiday

Coronavirus

(WFXR) — It’ll be another Thanksgiving under the threat of COVID-19, but with an option for vaccines, plenty of families say they’re ready to get things a little more back to normal.

If you’re planning a Thanksgiving get-together, health officials say that it’s safe to enjoy it, as long as everyone is vaccinated or taking the right precautions.

That’s where the concerns lie, especially for local health leaders, who say numbers are higher than they’d like to see ahead of the holiday that normally brings families together under close quarters.

According to Barbra S. from Lynchburg, “We’re going to be doing the distancing, [but we] probably won’t be wearing the masks. My brother lives in the area too but he’s got pre-existing conditions so we’ll probably take him a plate over.”

While restrictions are loosened, it’s recommended that you watch out for those who are vulnerable – including young children and older adults.

Dr. Cynthia Morrow with the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts expects cases to continue to rise over the next few weeks as people gather for the holidays.

Many of the new cases being reported involve children (around 20 percent).

“The virus is still out there. It is still out there with a vengeance and we need to do what we can to control it,” Dr. Morrow said. “I really implore people to be smart be safe over the Thanksgiving holiday.”

Dr. Noelle Bissell with the New River Health District says even with the holiday nearly here, it’s not too late to get vaccinated.

“Go ahead and get vaccinated anyway. The shots do start working to build that immunity so even if you’re not [at] full immunity, you will start having some immunity,” said Dr. Bissell.

When gathering on Thanksgiving Day, she recommends as much ventilation as possible.

“You can open doors, open windows, try to be in bigger open spaces as opposed to more confined closed spaces,” Dr. Bissell said.

Doctors also encourage getting tested for COVID-19 before traveling for the holiday.

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