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Tips to gather safely during the Thanksgiving holiday

Macon, Ga. (Nov. 22, 2021) – Traditionally, the Thanksgiving holiday is the busiest travel week of the year. AAA predicts 53.4 million people will travel for the holiday this year. That’s an 80% increase from last year when many people skipped the regular family gathering due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Emergency room physicians at Piedmont Macon and Piedmont Macon North want to remind families that middle Georgia and much of the country are still at a level of “substantial community spread” (according to the CDC). With only 58% of the vaccine eligible Georgia population fully vaccinated for COVID, the risk of spreading the virus to the most vulnerable of our population is still very high.

“We are at a point in the pandemic where more people are vaccinated, fewer people are hospitalized, and pandemic fatigue has set in,” said Dr. John Shivdat, Medical Director of Emergency Medicine at Piedmont Macon. “We know that people will gather, so we want to give a few suggestions to keep families safe while together.”

  • First and foremost, GET VACCINATED. Vaccines were not available prior to the 2020 holiday season and after the holidays, COVID cases surged nationwide. The vast majority of COVID patients at hospitals continue to be those who are not vaccinated.
  • Celebrate outdoors and in well-ventilated spaces. If spending time indoors with others outside of your household, masks are still recommended.
  • Delay travel if not fully vaccinated. The CDC recommends travel be delayed unless fully vaccinated. If you are not fully vaccinated and must travel, physicians suggest getting tested for COVID before and after your trip.
  • Get tested. If you have any COVID-like symptoms, do not attend or host any gatherings and if in doubt, get tested.
  • Remember those who are more vulnerable. Children under five years old art still not eligible for the vaccine and some people with weakened immune systems may not be fully protected (even when fully vaccinated). Masking is advised when around people who are more vulnerable.

“If we all can take a few extra precautions this Thanksgiving, we can hopefully help prevent another COVID spike across our community,” said Dr. John Shivdat. “A little extra care and caution now could save a lot of heartache later.”

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