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Doctors urge Minnesotans to re-think Thanksgiving plans, follow CDC advice

The Minnesota Medical Association has issued a plea to Minnesotans at a time when hospitals are under tremendous strain.

The Minnesota Medical Association is urging Minnesotans to re-think their Thanksgiving holiday plans amid the worsening COVID-19 crisis in the state.

The group, which has more than 10,000 members, says that Minnesotans planning in-person gatherings should reconsider, coming on a day when the state is reporting a record 56 COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations have surged to almost 1,300.

On Tuesday, Gov. Tim Walz passed a new executive order limiting social gatherings to a maximum of 10 people, from no more than three households. However, any in-person gathering with people not from your household presents a risk of transmitting COVID-19.

"Normally the last few months of the year are a time of celebration, of getting together with family and friends to celebrate the holidays. But this year is unlike any other,” said MMA President Marilyn Peitso, MD.

"As the CDC recommends, be mindful of the various factors that contribute to the risk of getting and spreading COVID-19 at in-person gatherings, and work to minimize your risk and that of others. We need to think of the health of our family and friends. You may feel fine and healthy, but what about grandpa and grandma or your elderly parents? The state is seeing tremendous growth in COVID-19 infections and deaths, and we need to all do our part to slow the spread."

The CDC guidance, which you can find here, suggests that the lowest-risk way of celebrating Thanksgiving is virtually or with members of your own household.

"In-person gatherings that bring together family members or friends from different households, including college students returning home, pose varying levels of risk," the CDC says.

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On Tuesday, Gov. Walz said that the state will not be knocking down doors and arresting people for celebrating Thanksgiving, but that at the very least Minnesotans should use the new restrictions as guidelines for planning their holiday festivities.

With the pandemic showing no sign of abating, the MMA is urging Minnesotans not to fall victim to "COVID fatigue" and lower their guards, as this could have a disastrous impact on Minnesota's already near-capacity ICU facilities and under-pressure healthcare workers.

“We realize that after eight months of fighting this pandemic, people are tired. Everyone has COVID fatigue, but we can’t let our defenses down now,” Peitso added. “We all have to work together to beat the virus.”

"Minnesotans can help health care workers and their fellow citizens by wearing a mask when in public, practicing social distancing, washing your hands, staying home when you are sick and seeing your physician when you feel ill," the MMA adds.

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