Doctors say it is imperative to celebrate the holidays safely

As the holidays are approaching, Travis County is currently in Stage 4 on the COVID-19 risk chart.

Doctors with Baylor Scott and White say that if you are planning on spending time with your family or friends, it's imperative that you do it safely, adding that things may look different, such as having virtual get-togethers or smaller events. They say doing things like that can help continue to keep our community safe. 

"After seeing numbers start to go down after the summer spike, unfortunately we are seeing numbers start to go back up," said Dr. Rob Watson with Baylor Scott and White. "It hasn’t quite reached our June number. But it's still trending upwards and we haven’t seen it decline over the last few weeks."



A map from Brown University shows how severe the risk is for where you live. It ranges from the lowest level, green, then going from yellow to orange, before getting to the highest risk level, red.  

The chart shows that Texas nearly covered in all red and orange in Travis County, averaging 34.4 new positive cases daily per every 100 thousand people. 

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"We’re all a little bit run down," said Dr. Watson. "But now is the time to focus our efforts on being as dedicated as possible to slow the spread of the virus." 

Dr. Watson says that nearly 70% of the new cases they're seeing, are coming from smaller gatherings. 

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"At the beginning, we were really worried about large gatherings," he said. "Now what we are seeing is that people are gathering with close friends as the holidays approach. But, unfortunately, we don’t know if our close friends don’t have the virus." 

That's why he stresses if you are going home for Thanksgiving, take into consideration a few precautionary measures like

  • Who is going to be there?
  • Is there anyone that would be considered high-risk?
  • Could either you or them join virtually?

He also added, if you can, try having the gathering outside so there can be better ventilation, but if you are inside, while it may not seem like the most ideal thing to do, he says to continue wearing your mask. 

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"I think we all have to be responsible, so we don’t come into the holidays with the virus," Dr. Watson said. "It's just important for all of us to stay healthy as we are trying to deal with this pandemic." 

However, Dr. Watson said even when Thanksgiving is over, the threat of the pandemic isn't. "The big concern is the succession that comes after Thanksgiving and before Christmas," he said. 

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He added that many won't see the impact of a holiday until a week or so after. "If we see a big spike as a result of Thanksgiving, we’re really going to have to reassess how we approach Christmas and New Years," Dr. Watson said.