KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Repeated pleas from health experts asking people to avoid large gatherings and not to travel for Thanksgiving were ignored by many in the U.S.
As COVID-19 cases surge and hospital resources run thin throughout the country, health experts expect even more strain on the health care system in the coming weeks.
“Thanksgiving is a much bigger holiday than Halloween,” St. Luke's Health System Director of Infection Prevention Ginny Boos said. "Just take a look at the airports the number of people that I’ve been traveling in the airports."
She expects that many holiday travelers returned with or spread COVID-19 and hopes that people who flouted advice before the holiday won't ignore it again if they are asked to quarantine due to a possible exposure.
Anyone identified as a close contact should quarantine for 10 to 14 days beginning as soon as they are informed of the exposure. That can be tricky, especially if you live with people who've yet to be exposed.
When it comes to families or roommates, it is important during quarantine to maintain a minimum of six feet of physical distance.
“Try to keep that person that has the virus maybe in their sleeping quarters," Boos said. "Maybe the other people need to make some adjustments as well. We know that some masks are better than others and for some people it might even be good to double mask.“
Boos suggests maximizing your living space to ideally keep a safe distance.
You can still use the same kitchen and bathroom common areas if you have to, but cleaning techniques and frequency become key in protecting yourself from getting the virus.
Towels absolutely should not be shared, Boos said.
With rampant community spread and knowing that thousands of people will have to get tested in the coming days and weeks, Boos says it’s important to note that a person should begin to quarantine after being told they need to get a test and not wait to start until receiving the results of that test.
The timing of when to get tested also is important. Health experts suggest waiting five to eight days after exposure or a false negative may provide a false sense of security.
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