The COVID-19 virus continues to spread at alarming rates throughout Tulare County causing a surge with COVID-19 positive patients needing to be hospitalized for the respiratory illness, Tulare County Health and Human Services officials have stated.

Public Health officials also urge residents to stay home this Thanksgiving and celebrate the holiday. The healthe department is advising those to celebrate Thanksgiving only with those in their household.

COVID-19 continues to pose a risk to the health of our communities and to our most vulnerable populations,” the health department stated. “Residents need to be aware of high-risk environments for spread of COVID-19 and should avoid such high-risk activities during the Thanksgiving holiday.”

The state guidelines advise gatherings to include no more than three households, though again, county officials are advising gatherings to only include immediate households. When it comes to gatherings the state has also advised for gatherings to be held outdoors and for no more than two hours.

 Tulare County Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Haught stated she strongly encourages community members not gather with persons outside an immediate household.

 “Many traditional Thanksgiving celebrations and gatherings can be high-risk for spreading the COVID-19 virus,” Haught said. “To protect those most vulnerable and manage the surge in our local health care system, we must refrain from participating in gatherings held indoors and not mix with those who live outside our immediate households. If you have any symptoms of COVID-19 or you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you should not participate in any in-person Thanksgiving festivities, immediately isolate yourself from others to prevent further transmission of the virus, and make an appointment to get tested.”

 Officials also strongly encourage everyone to be tested for COVID-19. Testing is free and available to anyone. All three community testing locations in Dinuba, Porterville, and Tulare are open Wednesday – Sunday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The testing sites will be closed on Thursday, November 26 due to Thanksgiving. Appointments for testing can be made by phone at 1-888-634-1123 and online at https://lhi.care/covidtesting. Those who go for testing should wear face covering

Tulare County officials are uring residents to avoid these high-risk activities:.

  • Thanksgiving gatherings with non-household members held indoors

  • Potlucks and buffets

  • Crowds of people and places such as shopping malls, retail stores, parades, running events, and sports

    Public officials are urging these alternative, lower-risk means of celebrating Thanksgiving:

  • Celebrate at home and prepare traditional Thanksgiving dishes with those who live in one's household

  • Host a virtual Thanksgiving dinner and share recipes with extended family and friends

  • Put up one's favorite holiday decorations and share photos online

  • Watch holiday parades, sporting events, and movies at home

  • Perform holiday shopping online instead of in person at stores

The most important thing is to keep your loved ones' safe and healthy and to not risk their health by gathering with those outside your own home,” the health department stated. “COVID-19 cases have been seen to spike in Tulare County following holiday gatherings, so to avoid a spike in cases, public health officials are urging residents to cooperate.”

Public health officials also continue to state everyone should practice social distance and to wear face coverings in public.

For more information about COVID-19, visit www.tchhsa.org/ncov andwww.covid19.tularecounty.ca.gov

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