Health experts: Even after negative test, gathering for Thanksgiving is risky

A false negative test could be costly, experts warn.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

For the umpteenth time in recent weeks, Minnesota health experts are again advising people to avoid gathering with anyone outside of their immediate household to celebrate Thanksgiving – and that recommendation holds firm even if a person has tested negative for COVID-19 in the days ahead of the holiday. 

“If you were negative and you were tested on Sunday, you could easily be positive Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday,” said Kris Ehresmann, infectious disease director at the Minnesota Department of Health. 

Dr. Mark Sannes, HealthPartners senior medical director and infectious disease specialist, told the Pioneer Press that people who have completely quarantined for two weeks may be safe, but there's no guarantee that everyone else planning to attend a Thanksgiving gathering has done the same, thus rendering the setting unpredictable.

Social gatherings with members outside of your immediate household are banned by Gov. Tim Walz's executive order, but Dr. Michael Osterholm, director at the University of Minnesota's Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, believes too many people will ignore the guidance and cause a spike in the coming weeks. 

"This is grave concern right now. Many, many people just don't appreciate how dangerous this situation is right now. As I've said repeatedly over the past few weeks, we're n the most dangerous public health moment since 1918," Osterholm said in an interview with WCCO Radio.

"Yesterday we had the most number of deaths dating back to last spring's big surge of cases when COVID-19 became the No. 1 leading cause of death in this country, and we're actually very concerned we're going to see that accelerated over the course of the next few weeks as more people get together and swap air. That's what's going to transmit this virus."

MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm on Monday speculated that because it's been 10 days since the state's highest single-day case count (8,689) that Minnesota may be experiencing a temporary trough before another wave hits.  

Sign up for our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

"We have seen our case numbers fluctuating from day-to-day. We would not consider that we have any sort of a reliable trend just yet," Malcolm said. 

"While we've been pleased to see somewhat lower case counts in some of the recent days, we think this might be another of those patterns that we've seen earlier in the epidemic – a series of waves, and possibly we are in a trough now between waves."

Even though the numbers reported each day haven't duplicated the high point on Nov. 14, there have still been 5,000 to 7,000 cases reported each day. And there is no sign of hospitalizations beginning to decrease. 

Through Nov. 23 there were 1,828 people with COVID-19 admitted to Minnesota hospitals. A month ago there were fewer than 600 hospitalized with the disease. 

The latest forecast from Novak Weather

Next Up

Antoine Winfield Jr.

Watch: Gopher alums Antoine Winfield Jr., Tyler Johnson make key plays in Bucs' playoff win

The Minnesota greats had a pair of highlights as Tampa Bay advanced to the NFC Championship.

Er-hgw7XYAQup5n

Crews respond to fire at Gertens in Inver Grove Heights

It's reported that a greenhouse on the grounds was on fire.

Marcus Carr

Why the Gophers could be in line for a high seed in the NCAA Tournament

The Gophers are done with a brutal stretch and are poised to make a run.

police tape

Authorities ID man fatally struck by 'errant bullet' in Willmar

The man was working in his garage when he was fatally shot.

ambulance

1 dead, 1 critically injured in head-on crash on Highway 169

The State Patrol says driving impaired may have been a factor in the crash.

Richard Pitino

Gophers game against Nebraska postponed due to COVID outbreak

The Cornhuskers have had 12 members of its team test positive for COVID-19.

Bob Kroll

What Minneapolis Police Lt. Bob Kroll said in Sunday radio interview

Kroll said that once he's retired he'll go "radio silent."

coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, covid-19

Here is Minnesota's COVID update for Sunday, January 17

The health department provides updates daily at 11 a.m.

Sen. Julia Coleman

'No one's business': State senator calls out attack on her pregnancy

Sen. Julia Coleman represents Minnesota's District 47.

Willmar Police Department

'Errant bullet' goes through garage wall, kills Willmar man

The man was working in his garage when he was shot, witnesses said.

Related

George Floyd protest

Health officials encourage protesters to get tested for COVID-19

There are 215 COVID-19 testing locations in Minnesota.

jim hagedorn

Rep. Hagedorn tests negative for COVID-19 after flying with President Trump

Hagedorn flew on Air Force One with the president while the president was possibly infectious, a day before he tested positive for COVID-19.

thanksgiving turkey

Experts say stay home this Thanksgiving, 'bubble' before if you'll go anyway

"If you can't bubble yourself," Osterholm says, don't go home.

Tim Walz

Walz talks schools, sports, ramping up testing in Monday interview

Walz says molecular diagnostic testing could see a boost within days.

Screen Shot 2020-06-28 at 9.26.23 AM

2nd inmate at Faribault prison dies after positive COVID-19 test

More than 200 inmates at the prison have tested positive.

Gov. Tim Walz

Walz: COVID-19 guidance for Christmas likely to be similar to Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving featured a ban on social gatherings with non-household members.

coronavirus, ICU, COVID-19

MN health officials say increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations 'likely'

Younger people have been getting infected, meaning they could transmit it to older, more vulnerable people.