The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to celebrate Thanksgiving at home with people from the same household, or celebrate virtually, County Public Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein wrote in a Nov. 16 press release.
“Californians are encouraged to stay home or in their region and avoid non-essential travel to other states or countries,” Borenstein said. “Avoiding travel can reduce the risk of virus transmission and bringing the virus back to California.”
Borenstein said that there are health risks when people travel from one county to another, especially when using shared spaces like airplanes, busses or trains.
If people do plan to travel for Thanksgiving, Borenstein offered four steps for preventing infection: get tested for COVID-19 before traveling, and avoid other people during travel. Upon return, Borenstein recommended that people monitor their health for COVID-19 symptoms, work remotely if possible and get a COVID-19 test.
Now that San Luis Obispo County has entered the widespread “purple” tier of the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, the county is seeing higher rates of COVID-19. Borenstein said that the best way to combat the spread of the virus is by engaging in low-risk activities.
A low-risk Thanksgiving would include celebrating with members of the same household, or celebrating virtually.
A moderate-risk celebration would be hosting or attending outdoor, in-person dinners with family and friends in the same community.
Higher risk activities include shopping at crowded indoor stores, out-of-area travel or visiting family members from facilities at which elderly or vulnerable residents live, according to the press release.
Borenstein said that all COVID-19 precautions should be taken at Thanksgiving gatherings, including maintaining a six-foot distance, washing hands, sanitizing surfaces and wearing a face covering.
“Despite this year’s challenges, we still have a lot to be thankful here in SLO County. We live in a wonderful community, can enjoy outdoor activities year-round, and we can seem to be seeing mostly mild or asymptomatic cases of the illness in our county at this time,” Borenstein wrote in the press release. “We can’t take all of this for granted. Keep those around you safe. Don’t give in to pandemic fatigue.”
Stephanie Zappelli contributed to this story.