COVID-19 and the Holidays

Published 4:01 pm Tuesday, November 3, 2020

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Pass the turkey, hold the COVID.
With the holidays approaching, how can you and your loved ones stay safe and celebrate?
The Tennessee Department of Health urges following CDC guidelines when making decisions on gatherings, from the type and risk level.
The CDC outlines and breaks down different types of gatherings and the varying risks involved.
– Low risk includes virtual activities and events, as well as gathering only with members of your own household.
– Moderate risks include small outdoor and indoor activities with people from differing households where social distancing can be practiced, as well as other guidelines.
– Higher risk include medium sized gatherings outside or in-doors with people from different households, and attendees from outside the local area, that are adapted to allow individuals to remain spaced at least 6 feet apart.
– The highest risks include large in-person gatherings where it is difficult for individuals to remain spaced at least 6 feet apart and attendees travel from outside the local area. Other activities that are deemed the most unsafe include shopping in large crowds, attending parades, etc.
What about travel?
The CDC advises masking, social distancing from anyone outside your household, avoiding those who are sick and refraining from touching your face, as well as sanitation practices. Full, detailed information from knowing travel risks to helping decide on delaying trips is listed on the CDC website.
The CDC urges anyone who has been exposed (awaiting test results or in quarantine) or has COVID-19 currently, to avoid all in-person gatherings, etc. to prevent spreading the virus. Likewise, those with higher risk of getting the virus are also urged to avoid such gatherings.
In addition to the Tennessee Department of Health and the CDC, Dr. Arnold Hopland, founder of Medical Care, shared some similar advice.
While Hopland said that moderate gatherings should be fine for those less at risk of the virus (the virus can still be spread and should be cautioned), he urged that those who are most at risk of contracting the virus, such as the elderly, stay protected and refrain from large gatherings. He also urged anyone who is showing symptoms of the virus to stay home as well. He stressed using good judgement in decision making regarding the holidays.
For full tips from the CDC on COVID-19 guidelines during the holidays, go to For updated COVID-19 cases and information related to Tennessee, go to Other local medical sites, such as Ballad Health (, also provide updated case numbers for regions as well.

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