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Doctors concerned Thanksgiving could become a ‘super spreader’ event

Posted at 5:16 PM, Nov 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-25 19:16:58-05

SALT LAKE CITY — Thanksgiving is a day where friends and family gather to share a meal, but this year doctors hope the gathering will be limited to people who live together.

“Our level of community transmission of COVID-19 is so high, we continue to recommend that you do not gather outside of your family that lives in your home,” - Dr. Eddie Stenehjem, Infectious disease physician, said.

During a news conference with Intermountain Healthcare physicians, Dr. Stenehjem discussed his concerns about Thanksgiving.

“We really plead with the communities to help us in the hospitals so that when your loved one comes seeking care whether it be COVID or not COVID, that they have the resources there and we have the resources there in terms of providing them with the best we can,” he said.

There is hope that new COVID-19 health restrictions are working, but it will be weeks before we see the impact on the hospital system, Dr. Stenehjem said. Hospital stays lag about 10-14 days behind case increases, he said.

“Our cases are high and our hospitalizations are continuing to remain very, very high,” he said.

People cannot safely gather for Thanksgiving with people outside their homes this year, Dr. Stenehjem said. While Utah’s healthcare system is already stretched thin and overwhelmed, healthcare leaders worry what large gatherings on Thanksgiving could do.

“This moment in time, thanksgiving is going to be absolutely critical in terms of the health of our healthcare workers across the state,” he said.

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