With COVID rates climbing, CDC advises staying home for the holiday

More than 1 million COVID-19 cases were reported in the United States over the last seven days. As cases continue to increase rapidly across the United States, the Centers for Disease Control says that the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is to celebrate at home with the people you live with. Postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others.

Daily trends in number of U.S. COVID-19 cases reported to the CDC.

In the day ended at 5 p.m. Friday, the Idaho Panhandle saw 241 new cases, a daily record, bringing the total to 8,485, with 240 cases active and 99 deaths. Boundary County has seen 332 COVID-19 cases, 143 of the active, with one resident dying of novel corona virus.

Lincoln County saw eight new cases in the day ending at 10 a.m. today, bringing the total count to 671, 252 active. Another death Friday, the third for the week, brings the death toll to nine.

Nationwide, the U.S. saw 192,673 new cases in the day ended at 12:16 p.m. Eastern today and 1,885 more Americans died. As of 9:25 p.m. Eastern today, Johns Hopkins reports 12,088,410 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began, with 255,861 deaths. Based on new cases, it is predicted that the death count could go to 3,000 per day by early to mid-December.

If you are considering traveling for Thanksgiving, here are some important questions to ask yourself and your loved ones beforehand. These questions can help you decide what is best for you and your family.

  • Are you, someone in your household, or someone you will be visiting at increased risk for getting very sick from COVID-19?
  • Are cases high or increasing in your community or your destination? Check CDC’s COVID Data Tracker for the latest number of cases.
  • Are hospitals in your community or your destination overwhelmed with patients who have COVID-19? To find out, check state and local public health department websites.
  • Does your home or destination have requirements or restrictions for travelers? Check state and local requirements before you travel.
  • During the 14 days before your travel, have you or those you are visiting had close contact with people they don’t live with?
  • Do your plans include traveling by bus, train, or air which might make staying six feet apart difficult?
  • Are you traveling with people who don’t live with you?

If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” you should consider making other plans, such as hosting a virtual gathering or delaying your travel. It’s important to talk with the people you live with and your family and friends about the risks of traveling for Thanksgiving.

Celebrating virtually or with the people you live with is the safest choice this Thanksgiving.

If you choose to attend a gathering, make your celebration safer. In addition to following the steps that everyone can take to make Thanksgiving safer, take these additional steps if attending a Thanksgiving gathering:

  • Bring your own food, drinks, plates, cups, and utensils.
  • Wear a mask and safely store your mask while eating and drinking.
  • Avoid going in and out of the areas where food is being prepared or handled, such as in the kitchen.
  • Use single-use options, like salad dressing and condiment packets, and disposable items like food containers, plates, and utensils.

If having guests to your home, be sure that people follow the steps that everyone can take to make Thanksgiving safer:

  • Have a small outdoor meal with family and friends who live in your community.
  • Limit the number of guests.
  • Have conversations with guests ahead of time to set expectations for celebrating together.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items between use.
  • If celebrating indoors, bring in fresh air by opening windows and doors, if possible. You can use a window fan in one of the open windows to blow air out of the window. This will pull fresh air in through the other open windows.
  • Limit the number of people in food preparation areas.
  • Have guests bring their own food and drink.
  • If sharing food, have one person serve food and use single-use options, like plastic utensils.