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Celebrate a COVID Safe Thanksgiving

Navicent Health Doctors Offer Advice for Safely Celebrating

As the holiday season draws closer, many are anxious to celebrate with family and friends, but also concerned with celebrating safely during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. While holiday celebrants should follow the local and state guidelines that apply in their areas, physicians at Navicent Health offer general advice to help protect Georgians from the spread of COVID-19 during the holiday season.

“This has been a year of disruption and change. Everyone is eager to celebrate the holidays and restore a sense of normalcy, but we must continue to take steps to protect ourselves and our loved ones from COVID-19. We encourage people to follow the guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and get creative in order to celebrate safely,” said Jeff Stephens, MD, Medical Director of Infection Prevention, Navicent Health.

Navicent Health experts offer the following guidance for holiday celebrants:

1. What steps should you take to have a COVID Safe gathering this holiday season?

· Limit the number of attendees. Celebrate with members of your own household, or your “COVID bubble.”

· Host an outdoor event. If you must celebrate indoors, avoid overcrowding to ensure people can safely social distance.

· Ask guests to mask and have hand sanitizer readily available for guests.

2. Who should avoid holiday celebrations this year?

· Those who are currently diagnosed with COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. Those who fall into this category should continue to quarantine or self-isolate as directed.

· People who may be at high risk of mortality if they contract COVID-19, including those with chronic conditions and the elderly.

3. What steps should you take for holiday meals?

· Wash hands for at least 20 seconds with warm soap and water prior to preparing food, wear a mask while preparing food, and limit the number of people in the area where food is being prepared.

· Designate one server, rather than having guests serve themselves. The server should properly wash their hands prior to serving and wear a mask while serving.

· Instead of a potluck style meal, encourage attendees to bring food for their immediate household.

· Encourage guests not to eat and/or drink after one another.

4. What steps should you take if traveling?

· Know your risk. If you are traveling, be aware of COVID-19 case levels and the risk of community spread at your destination. If you are inviting guests from out of town, consider COVID-19 case levels in their area.

· Avoid crowds and maintain social distancing while traveling.

· Wear masks for the duration of your journey.

· Wipe down high tough surfaces, like tray tables and seatbelts, when boarding a plane.

· Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Clean your hands often.

5. Should you avoid Black Friday shopping this year?

· Many national retailers are already offering deals online. Shop online rather than standing in lines or fighting crowds at large retailers.

· Shop at locally owned businesses, and shop at times when stores may not be as crowded.

· Mask properly, practice social distancing, avoid touching surfaces and use hand sanitizer frequently.

“If a loved one cannot attend a celebration, get creative! Have them join virtually or prepare a small meal and deliver it to the person’s home. It may be difficult not to be together in person, but we can still come together virtually to celebrate,” said Rachel Faulkner, RN, Assistant Vice President of Quality and Safety for Navicent Health. “A few simple steps will allow us to celebrate while also minimizing our risk of exposure or spreading the virus to others.”

About Navicent Health

Navicent Health, the leading provider of healthcare in central and south Georgia, is committed to its mission of elevating health and wellbeing through compassionate care. Providing more than 1,000 beds and offering care in 53 specialties at more than 50 facilities throughout the region, Navicent Health provides care for healthcare consumers’ through an academic medical center; community, pediatric and rehabilitation hospitals; urgent care centers; physician practices; diagnostic centers; home health; hospice and palliative care; and a life plan community. Navicent Health is dedicated to enhancing health and wellness for individuals throughout the region through nationally recognized quality care, community health initiatives and collaborative partnerships. For more information, please visit