With Thanksgiving just around the corner, state health officials are asking Oklahomans to step up their COVID-19 precautions around family gatherings.
“It’s natural to want to follow traditions of seeing loved ones this Thanksgiving, but as much as possible, limit interactions to small gatherings of family and friends,” interim Health Commissioner Dr. Lance Frye said.
He encouraged people to watch their distance and wear face masks during family gatherings.
“The problem with this virus is that a lot of times people are asymptomatic. They don’t know they have it but they could still spread it,” Frye said. “We don’t want to have this come back two or three weeks from now and calve the numbers just exponentially increase and that’s our fear.”
One possible relief valve for a post-holiday spike, hospitals and nursing homes can now have COVID-19 positive nurses without symptoms work with COVID-19 positive patients.
“We are in a new era of this guidance so there’s not a whole lot of ‘do this, not that’ that we can really provide, so we’re leaning heavily on the providers themselves to practice best standards and infectious control procedures and only use this if it’s absolutely necessary,” Deputy Health Commissioner Travis Kirkpatrick said.
COVID testing numbers will likely be off over the holiday as the state pauses testing and contact tracing efforts.
“We have some people that have just worked 24/7 getting these numbers every day and getting all the data out to everybody, so if they need a holiday as well,” Frye said.