Top Richmond doc tells families not to gather for Thanksgiving, holidays

Posted at 4:18 PM, Nov 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-05 18:44:34-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- If your family typically gets together for large Thanksgiving feasts or Christmas parties each November and December, Dr. Danny Avula, the Director of the Richmond and Henrico County Health Departments, had some advice for your 2020 plans -- don't do it.

Dr. Avula said Richmond's COVID-19 trends are not good.

"Last Thursday, the United States hit its single-day highest record for case counts at over 91,000 cases in one day. Our trends here in Richmond look like they're heading the same direction as the rest of the country," Avula said.

Doctor Avula said it would take "discipline and rigor" over the holidays to avoid COVID-19 spikes in the community.

"We will need to think differently about how we do family gatherings this year," he said. "The best and safest thing is to not do it, if at all possible."

Avula said he recognized many families would continue with their traditions, so he offered the following advice.

"I would ask that people think about how much they are cloistering themselves in the days leading up to that gathering. If they can quarantine themselves for 14 days, and minimize any exposure. That's the safest thing to do," he said. "If 14 days is unreasonable, then think about getting tested before you go into that family gathering."

At the gathering, he said:

  • Stay outside as much as possible
  • Maintain social distancing
  • Enforce mask wearing
  • Do not sleep at the home where you gather
  • Limit gathering times to meals and other social engagements.
  • Consider a 14-day quarantine after the gathering to limit virus spread

"Now I know that this sounds difficult and it sounds crazy to a lot of people, but I think this is the kind of discipline and rigor that we're going to need to put into place if we're going to have any chance of not seeing a spike like we saw back in May and in August," he said.

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