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Arizona’s largest health care provider gives Thanksgiving health, safety tips

Travelers move through a security checkpoint in a sparsely populated terminal at LaGuardia Airport, Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, in the Queens borough of New York. Millions of Americans are taking to the skies and hitting the road ahead of Thanksgiving at the risk of pouring gasoline on the coronavirus fire. They are disregarding increasingly dire warnings that they stay home and limit their holiday gatherings to members of their own household. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

PHOENIX – Thanksgiving is typically a time to gather with loved ones, but one name you do not want on the table markers is coronavirus.

Banner Health has served up some precautions with COVID-19 in mind in hopes of creating a safer way to celebrate if you are gathering despite recommendations to avoid it this Thanksgiving.

To begin, the health and safety tips fall in line with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. That means you should to put a lid on some of your annual Thanksgiving traditions—including large gatherings, football games, parades and Black Friday shopping.

“Gathering with a large group outside of your immediate household for extended periods of time places you at higher risk of COVID-19 infection,” said Helen Arnold, an infection prevention specialist at Banner Desert Medical Center and Cardon Children’s Medical Center. “In turn, you could spread the infection to others.”

She believes everyone must understand the inherent risk that goes along with asymptomatic transmission and its rate of 40% in spreading COVID-19.

If you acknowledge and accept the risk this Thanksgiving, the safest mode of travel is by car.

If it is for a long distance, try to limit any stops at high-trafficked areas and if you are getting out, wear a mask and keep your hands clean with hand washing and hand sanitizer.

If you are flying, keep in mind hand hygiene, wear a mask and do whatever you can to avoid crowds.

“Certainly try to make direct flights to avoid those layovers where you’re now sitting with a whole crowd of people,” Arnold said.

Once you have arrived at your destination, wear a mask and practice social distancing — especially if you are with people from outside of your household.

Gathering outside is considered to be a safe alternative if you are having a meal together. But try to keep things simple with paper plates and disposable utensils – not only will it save time cleaning up the kitchen later but it could also limit your risk of exposure.

“The buffet-style meals are not a good idea, sharing foods and things like that are sources of super spreading,” Arnold said.

Ultimately, it is your decision to attend Thanksgiving activities in Arizona whether they are risky or safe, but remember to follow CDC guidelines to help ensure you and your loved ones are safe during this uncertain time.

For Arizona vaccine information, visit azdhs.gov/findvaccine.

For all articles, information and updates on the coronavirus from KTAR News, visit ktar.com/coronavirus.

Arizona open and hiring: If you’re looking for job openings, visit ktar.com/arizonahiring.

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