COLUMBIA, MO. (KMIZ)
Health experts are recommending people practice COVID-19 mitigation strategies when getting together with family and friends over the Thanksgiving holiday.
Experts caution that the pandemic is not over yet, and COVID-19 cases are rising again in Missouri as cooler weather forces people to do more indoor activities.
While no health orders are currently in place right in Mid-Missouri, Sara Humm with the Columbia/Boone County Health Department said holiday hosts should have a conversation with their guests about what guidelines or mitigation strategies they want to practice.
Humm said it can be important to check if the people you will be around are vaccinated before getting together. Vaccination still provides to be the strongest form of defense against a severe COVID-19 illness.
With the Pfizer vaccine being available for children 5 and up, Humm said families now have the ability to make sure more members are vaccinated in time for get-togethers.
Although there are no mandates, Humm said health officials recommend people wear masks indoors where they cannot maintain social distance. Humm suggests spreading out seats at the dinner table if possible.
Getting tested for cononavirus is also important before getting together with family. At-home rapid antigen tests that can provide results in minutes are available in stores. Humm said while the at-home tests are a good option, they are not always reliable and she recommends people get PCR tested for the most accurate results.
Humm said if possible people should try to eat and or do other activities outside if the weather permits, and wash their hands as much as possible.
Humm said it is hard to predict if COVID-19 cases will rise after the holidays, however, she said it is more than likely. She said practicing mitigation strategies is the best way to reduce some of the increase in cases.
Boone County reported 441 active COVID-19 cases as of Wednesday, with 20 people hospitalized. COVID-19 numbers were not updated Thursday and will not be until next week because of the holiday. New cases have increased nearly 12% statewide over the last week and 13% in Boone County over the same time, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
Nearly 51% of Missourians are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to the state health department. About 60% of Americans are fully vaccinated, the Mayo Clinic reports.