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Health officials: 'Really reconsider' attending a Super Bowl party

Experts say it's another big event that people should avoid attending big gatherings.

To no one's surprise, health officials are encouraging people to avoid gathering with people outside of your household for the Super Bowl on Sunday. 

The same guidance has been issued for previous big events, including New Year's, Christmas, Thanksgiving and Halloween. This time around, Super Bowl Sunday comes around this weekend and is another opportunity for COVID-19 to further spread. 

"This is probably not the year to have a Super Bowl party and fortunately we don't have to feel bad because the Vikings aren't in the Super Bowl, so it takes some of the pressure off," said Kris Ehresmann, director of infectious disease at the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). 

She says people should "really reconsider gathering" for the big game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs, adding that if you do plan to attend a Super Bowl party you should wear a mask and practice social distancing. 

It's even a good idea to avoid eating out of community bowls, like chips, dip and other Super Bowl food favorites. 

"It's better if you don't share foods and people have their own snacks, but I think the bigger message is that this is probably the year to not be having a big Super Bowl party," said Ehresmann. 

Minnesota has seen its lowest level of new cases and hospitalizations since last summer, though experts continue to warn that numbers could surge again if the B.1.1.7 variant, known as the U.K. variant, becomes a dominant strain in the U.S. 

Eight cases of the B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant have been confirmed in Minnesota, and University of Minnesota epidemiologist, Dr. Michael Osterholm, believes the variant will cause major problems in the U.S. within the next 6 to 14 weeks. 

"Even though we're feeling good about our improved numbers we need to take common sense steps to keep those numbers from going back up," said Jan Malcolm, commissioner of the MDH.

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