AUSTIN, Texas - The pandemic is forcing millions of Americans to reimagine Thanksgiving celebrations. Ahead of the big day, Austin Public Health sent out a final warning.
“Avoid gathering with folks outside of your immediate household. Stay away from crowds,” said alternate health authority Dr. Jason Pickett.
Austin Public Health said in the past, holidays gatherings such as Easter, Memorial Day, and Independence Day have devastated families.
“In two to three weeks we will have a number of cases from gatherings that occurred over Thanksgiving holidays. My concern when I see people congregating is that they place themselves at risk of being exposed to a COVID-19 positive person,” said chief epidemiologist Janet Pichette.
Pickett said only gather with people who you live with. If you hold large gatherings, there are some ways to reduce the risk. “Wear your masks, gathering outside instead of inside and decreasing the number of people that are indoors together,” he said.
Health officials know there will be many who still decide to travel. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport had at least 11,000 passengers traveling on the day before Thanksgiving, still significantly lower in number compared to this time last year, but nevertheless, people are still traveling.
The warning remains clear, even if you get tested before traveling there is still a risk of exposure.
“A test does not buy you a ticket to a gathering. As we have seen, you could be incubating the virus and test negative and then still a day or two later develop symptoms and be infectious,” said Pickett.