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Banner Health offers alternatives to in-person Thanksgiving gatherings

(Pexels Photo)

PHOENIX — Arizona’s largest health care provider is offering alternatives to in-person Thanksgiving gatherings as the coronavirus pandemic again worsens in the state.

Banner Health issued guidelines Tuesday that limit the risk of spreading and contracting COVID-19 during the holiday.

They suggest only hosting a dinner with members of your household and connecting with other family and friends through technology if possible.

Outdoor food swaps and a small, outdoor dinner are also options Banner Health prefers over traditional celebrations.

“Keeping our loved ones safe is the best gift that we can give one another for the holidays,” Dr. Marjorie Bessel, chief clinical officer for Banner Health, said in a press release.

“Make these sacrifices for your family and friends this year so that you can preserve many holiday celebrations in the years to come.”

For those who do plan to host a gathering, Banner has suggestions to limit potential COVID-19 spread and exposure:

  • Set up tables outdoors with plenty of distance between them.
  • Sit immediate households together at tables so there is no mingling with other household units
  • Do not attend if you or a member of your household is sick
  • Pre-plate food by designated individuals who are masked to avoid cross-contamination of serving utensils
  • Wear a mask at all times when not eating or drinking

Banner’s guidance comes as it shut down most visitations at its Tucson locations effective Wednesday because of the increasing spread.

The Phoenix VA also is limiting visitations to end-of-life cases starting Saturday.

Arizona reported 4,123 new coronavirus cases and 19 deaths on Thursday, putting the state’s totals at 287,225 COVID-19 infections and 6,384 fatalities.

For Arizona vaccine information, visit

For all articles, information and updates on the coronavirus from KTAR News, visit

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