Being cautious as Thanksgiving celebrations approach

The pandemic has many foregoing traditional Thanksgiving celebrations this year for smaller gatherings. And those will require extra steps to help stop the spread of the virus this holiday season.

Many Americans are opting to get tested for COVID-19 before gathering with friends and family for holiday celebrations. Months into the pandemic and this has become, for many, the new normal.

"Just out of precaution, for safety reasons," said Phyllis Octavia McKenzie.

The Fulton County Health Department offered free COVID-19 testing at Siloam Church International in South Fulton on Wednesday. With coronavirus cases on the rise nationwide, people at this mobile testing site don't believe they have COVID-19 but got tested as a precaution.

"I have been tested before, and it was negative, but I heard even though you been tested before and it was negative you still need to test again," McKenzie said.

With Thanksgiving approaching, coronavirus testing is part of holiday preparations for some.

"I just wanted to make sure I didn't have anything that I could take to any of my family members," Star Ricks said as he waited in line for his test.

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At the same time, they said they will follow the advice of public health experts who urge Americans to forego large holiday gatherings, to prevent a swell of new cases.

"Since the pandemic, we can't get together like that, so it's going to be like two, three, four of us. It's not going to be that many," Ricks said. "We won't have that many people at the house and then we will do it outside instead of inside the house."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends limiting the number of attendees at holiday gatherings to allow people from different households to remain at least 6 feet apart at all times. Guests should avoid direct contact, including handshakes and hugs, with others not from their household and should host outdoor rather than indoor gatherings as much as possible. Even outdoors, require guests to wear masks when not eating or drinking.

Not the traditional holiday gathering many have come to enjoy but those who are celebrating with their health in mind will make the best of it.

"Yes, we have to do adjusting, but it's OK," said McKenzie.

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