Kettering doctor says Thanksgiving gatherings should follow health guidelines even with close friends and relatives


DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Thanksgiving is just around the corner and while the CDC is recommending that Americans stay home, health professionals are reminding those who do to be especially diligent in following precautions. 

Dr. Patrick Lytle, vice president of clinical outcomes for Kettering Health, said as the winter months set in and people start to make visits for the holidays, health professionals expect the trend of increasing cases to continue.

“From us as medical providers, you know we signed up for this. We’re anticipating that we will still have very high volume throughout the holidays, actually through Christmas and New Years.”

Even ahead of the holidays and traditional large gatherings, Lytle said the numbers are already heading in an unfavorable direction and are worse than what they were at the start of pandemic in the spring. The result has led to an increased number of patients across the country and in the Miami Valley seeking medical care.

“There are probably 10 to 20 times the number now,” Lytle explained. We thought it was a bad day when we had 100, now we’re at 6,000 and 7,000 cases a day in the state.”

Despite the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, recommending that Americans stay at home for the holidays, community members have not been prohibited from gathering for Thanksgiving.

Lytle said he’s encouraging those who do gather with friends and family not to completely forego following health precautions. He said letting your guard down could lead to passing the virus on to loved and overwhelming the healthcare system.

“If you are around grandma and grandpa, or an aunt or an uncle or mother or father, that you haven’t seen that may be recovering from cancer or have some other debilitating diseases, it is appropriate to wear a mask and be around them, and for them to wear a mask.”

He said those who decide to see family and friends should also consider shortening their visits by a few hours to limit exposure. He added, those who worship for holidays should avoid close contact with people outside of their household as well. 

“We’re planning for not anything letting up for quite some time. I’m hoping and praying that it does, but [medical professionals] are not going to let [their] guard down.”

The CDC says following social distancing and practicing good mask-wearing and hand washing habits leading up to small gatherings can have an impact on if and how the virus spreads as well. For more considerations regarding Thanksgiving get-togethers during COVID-19, click here.

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