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Arizona’s top health official worried about Thanksgiving COVID-19 spike

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PHOENIX – Arizona’s top health official said she’s “highly concerned” that the state will see a COVID-19 spike after the Thanksgiving holiday.

“With the increase that’s going on around the nation and people coming home, like from colleges, to Arizona, Thanksgiving has me highly concerned that about 10 to 14 days after Thanksgiving, we will see a significant increase,” Dr. Cara Christ, director of the state’s Department of Health Services, told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Thursday.

“So again, we’re reminding Arizonans that Thanksgiving may look a little different this year than it has in the past.”

Christ said people of all ages need to keep their guards up during holiday get-togethers, even if not at a high risk for serious illness, “because you probably have someone you love who is.”

“What we’re seeing is transmission in small household gatherings where people feel that they’re with close friends or with their family members and it is safe to remove the masks, it’s safe to get close to them,” she said. “And we’re finding out that that is causing increased transmission.”

Christ said the number of coronavirus cases and the percent positivity for diagnostic testing in Arizona has been rising in recent weeks.

“We remain concerned and on high alert, but we have been since January when we got our first case,” she said.

Christ said health officials expect the increases to continue and urged Arizonans to be diligent about mitigation strategies.

“Now is not the time to stop wearing masks and, you know, [start] resuming normal activities,” she said.

“We need everybody to continue doing a great job at mask wearing, staying physically distanced and staying home when you’re sick.”

As for that other big fall holiday, Christ told The Mike Broomhead Show earlier this month that Halloween trick-or-treating can be done safely as long as participants wear face masks – the protective kind, not the costume kind – and follow social distancing guidelines as much as possible.

“Just placing a candy in somebody’s bag is not going to be high risk for transmitting coronavirus — it’s really that long, personal interaction that you have,” she said.

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