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State Department of Health issues Thanksgiving guidance, releases recommendations on safe gatherings

Monday, November 23, 2020

State and local health departments encourage families to stay safe, avoid large gatherings and follow CDC guidelines

OKLAHOMA — The Oklahoma State Department of Health released today its official safety recommendations for families across the state of Oklahoma celebrating Thanksgiving amid COVID-19.

“We look forward to this time of year to spend time with family and friends, but with the rapid increase of coronavirus cases we’ve seen over the last month, we should reevaluate how we celebrate Thanksgiving this year,” said Dr. Lance Frye, Oklahoma Commissioner of Health. “By taking action together, we can collectively slow the spread of COVID-19 this holiday season. Many of us, including myself are having to make difficult decisions this year about our holiday gatherings we’ve never had to consider. This year, I encourage Oklahomans to find new, creative holiday traditions that keep our family members, neighbors and health care workers safe.”

Recent data from Oklahoma’s seven-day rolling average shows that COVID-19 cases are consistently increasing within the state. The OSDH warns that large group gatherings of 10 or more people this Thanksgiving have the potential to spread the virus in communities, further increasing the risk of infection.

The department recommends celebrating virtually or with immediate household family members because it poses the lowest risk for spreading COVID-19. If one chooses to host or attend a gathering, OSDH suggests getting tested to reduce the risk of spreading the virus, particularly for college students returning home

In conjunction with CDC holiday guidelines, OSDH asks that Oklahomans remember to say THANKS.

This Thanksgiving, say THANKS:

  • T - Take extra precautions while traveling; avoid it altogether if you can.
  • H - Host in a space with good ventilation; preferably outdoors.
  • A - Ability to stay six feet apart should dictate your guest count.
  • N - No interaction with people with or exposed to COVID-19.
  • K - Keep your mask on when not eating or drinking.
  • S - Small gatherings of family & friends.

The CDC provided additional tips to help mitigate the spread of the virus at these and other events. These include having a virtual dinner and sharing recipes with friends and family, shopping online rather than in person on the day after Thanksgiving and watching sports events, parades, and movies from home.

The CDC also recommended preparing traditional family recipes for family and neighbors, especially those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, delivering it without making direct contact.

For more information on CDC holiday guidelines visit