Dr. Jay-Sheree Allen on how to stay safe from COVID-19 this Thanksgiving

A thanksgiving meal being served
With COVID-19 cases surging in Minnesota, how can we celebrate the holidays safely? And is it safe to gather at all?
Wendy Wei on Pexels

This year’s Thanksgiving celebration will be the first chance for many extended families to gather since the pandemic began. That’s cause for rejoicing — and anxiety, because COVID-19 case numbers are surging in Minnesota.

Dr. Jay-Sheree Allen joined host Cathy Wurzer to talk about how to keep your loved ones safe at holiday gatherings. Allen is a family practice doctor in central Minnesota and the host of the “Millennial Health” podcast.

Wurzer asked Allen: If you’re vaccinated against COVID-19 and you’ve gotten a booster shot, how safe are you? Allen responded that in Minnesota we should err on the side of caution, because our surge in COVID-19 cases puts us in a different situation that most of the rest of the country.

If everyone at your holiday gathering is vaccinated and boosted, you can have some confidence in your safety, Allen said, but you should be mindful and mask up in large crowds (like at the grocery store).

If some of the people at your gathering are not vaccinated against COVID-19, tests are an option, Allen said. She advised listeners to test themselves multiple times for COVID-19 over the course of multiple days if possible.

Allen also reminded listeners that negative results from over-the-counter antigen tests for COVID-19 aren’t always accurate — they can provide some confidence, but they are not an all-clear.

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As for safety measures at your Thanksgiving gathering itself, Allen recommended masking when possible, especially if you’re concerned about the vaccination status of your guests or potential exposure to the coronavirus. You could also try spreading out and eating in different parts of the house to create some social distancing, Allen added.

Ultimately, you have to draw your own boundaries, Allen said.

Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.

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