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Montage Health and Community Hospital are committed to your health and safety during the pandemic. COVID-19 information and resources

Published on November 18, 2020

Having a safe Thanksgiving during the COVID-19 pandemic

Learn more on guidelines for California and Monterey County

Thanksgiving turkey wearing a pilgrim hat and a protective mask

It's the question on all of our minds:

Should I get together with friends and family for Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving has long been a family holiday with large gatherings, sometimes with dozens of people getting together to spend time, give thanks, and share traditions. Unfortunately, this year, getting together in person for Thanksgiving in large groups is a tremendous risk, particularly for those who have family members who are older or more vulnerable to severe infection — such as those with diabetes, heart disease, lung conditions, or high blood pressure.

Should I get tested for COVID?

Getting tested for COVID-19 in advance is not a great strategy for protecting family members because people won’t know on Thanksgiving Day, whether the test taken a few days ago is still accurate or valid.

Guidelines from the health department

Table set for Thanksgiving dinner outside

The best thing families and friends can do is follow guidance from the health department:

  • Stay home if you are vulnerable to severe illness or not feeling well
  • Do not gather more than three households together – fewer people is safer
  • Hold Thanksgiving outside
  • Wear masks when not eating, and distance when eating
  • Limit the time together – the longer the time, the greater the risk

Certainly, this isn’t ideal, and it will be hugely disappointing for many.

Then again, it is 2020.

What other options exist?

A person holding a glass hosting a virtual "cheers" with a friend

Finding ways to engage other than in-person is the best idea. Connect with family and friends through video conferencing. Or, hold your individual Thanksgivings and call each other at a predetermined time and have a family toast.

Dr. Blum answers frequently asked questions

Additional information

For more information on how to stay safe, guidelines, and for resources on COVID-19, visit:

Dr. Martha Blum profile picturesGuidance for this blog post was provided by Martha Blum, MD, PhD. Dr. Blum is medical director of infection prevention at Community Hospital, where she helps lead our response to the pandemic and other infectious diseases.

Martha Blum, MD, PhD, is board-certified in infectious diseases. She received her medical degree from Cornell University Medical College in 2002 and completed her residency and fellowship in infectious diseases at University of California Los Angeles Medical Center. She has a doctorate in medical virology from Rockefeller University. Dr. Blum was assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at UCLA from 2007-14, when she joined Montage Medical Group. She has received research grants from the National Institutes of Health and published research articles on many viral infections, including HIV, HTLV, SARS, and Hepatitis B and C viruses.

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