Holidays challenge health protocols
FINGER LAKES--While health officials have universally recommended staying home during the Thanksgiving holiday, they have also acknowledged that will do little to deter many from taking the risk to be with family and friends. In light of this reality, health officials are asking residents who are insisting on celebrating in-person to do so in a safe manner.
"It's not easy for anybody and I understand people have to make the decision most appropriate for them and their family members, but please consider doing it in a safe manner," said Deborah Minor, director of both the Yates and Schuyler County Departments of Health.
If people insist on traveling or having guests, Minor said it is important to try to follow Center for Disease Control Protocols. Recommendations include using disposable plates and silverware, wearing masks at all times except for when eating and drinking, avoiding having non-residents in the kitchen, and to bring your own food and beverages.
"These are all things that people can do to increase the safety for themselves and others," Minor said.
Beyond taking personal precautions it is also important to stay abreast of travel restrictions and state protocols. Due to high COVID numbers, gatherings in family domiciles are limited to 10 people in New York.
Preparations for having guests or traveling are also important, as it is recommended residents quarantine for as long as two weeks, get tested before a gathering and then again after as well.
"I know this can be very difficult for people as we live in a rural area and testing availability for asymptomatic people right now is limited," Minor said.
Minor added she knows current recommendations mean Thanksgiving celebrations for families in the Finger Lakes will be completely different if not outright canceled and how much that will hurt.
"I haven't seen my mother in months, so I understand how difficult this is," Minor said.
While they still talk over the phone, Minor said she has stayed away knowing it is the best thing for not only her mother's health, but for everyone around her as well.
"My mother is elderly so we will talk over the phone, but I will not be seeing her this Thanksgiving," Minor added. "I know how hard it is but for me personally, I had to make the decision to protect my mother and the people I work with."
For more information about staying safe during the holidays visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays/thanksgiving.html