"Thanksgiving is a whole different experience. Lots of travel across different counties and across state lines," said Dr. Mark Ghaly, California Health & Human Services Secretary.
Ghaly warns that holiday gatherings could lead to a spike in cases, despite the fact that case rates and hospital admissions are far lower than they were this time last year.
"We still know that if you're unvaccinated, you are five to six times more likely to get infected by COVID than someone who is vaccinated. And then, you're a staggering 20 times more likely to die," Ghaly said.
For respiratory care nurse Stephanie Friends, she plans to take extra precautions and discuss vaccination status with her Thanksgiving guests before the gathering.
During her Fourth of July party, she kept it outdoors, checked temperatures and requested masking and hand-washing. In addition to disposable plates and utensils, she took great care to package food and drinks into single servings.
Experts also suggest before the gathering to discuss vaccination status. You can have your guests be involved by asking for suggestions on how to keep the celebration safe. This may include COVID-19 testing. Friends said it doesn't have to be awkward if it comes from the heart.
"I think this is a good example of what we still should continue to do with Thanksgiving," Friends said. "I care for people and I care for you. Please respect my wishes and care for me and others around me."
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