Webster County Public Health issued the following statement Thursday regarding the potential spread of Covid-19 during the Thanksgiving Holiday. Their full statement is below.
Thanksgiving will look different this year as the fight against COVID-19 continues and community spread of the disease blankets Iowa and Webster County.
“This pandemic has forced many of us to make difficult decisions, about school, work, travel and family gatherings,” said Dr. Kelli Wallace, medical director for Webster County Health Department. “Unfortunately this virus doesn’t care if we’re gathering for a holiday with family we have been missing, or a funeral or a game. Please make the decision to celebrate Thanksgiving with immediate family only. Keep gatherings small, distance when you can, and wear masks.”
Do not host or participate in any in-person festivities if you or anyone in your household has COVID-19 symptoms, is awaiting COVID test results, has been exposed in the last 14 days, has been diagnosed with COVID and/or not been released from public health isolation, or if you are at an increased risk of severe illness due to COVID-19.
Reconsider holiday travel as gatherings with attendees who have traveled from different locations poses a higher risk due to community spread in each individual’s home area as well as all locations traveled through. If a resident chooses to travel, it is important to engage in preventative behaviors such as masking, social distancing, hand washing, and not attending if they have been or begin to feel ill.
If you are still choosing to celebrate with those outside of your immediate family, please maintain a distance of at least six feet from people that you don’t live with. Wear a mask at all times when around those that you don’t live with. Minimize gestures that promote close contact such as shaking hands, bumping elbows, or giving hugs. Instead wave or give a verbal greeting. Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces and any shared items between use, including cooking and serving utensils. If possible, bring your own utensils so that they are not shared. Instead of potluck-style gatherings, encourage guests to bring food and drinks for themselves and members of their household only.
“We know that people want the holidays to be a time to return to normalcy, but our cases locally are increasing exponentially,” said Kelli Bloomquist, public information officer for Webster County Health Department. “Choosing safety and small immediate family gatherings this Thanksgiving will help to reduce community spread in our area.”