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City of Huntsville encourages safe celebrations this Thanksgiving holiday

Published on November 23, 2021

COVID-19: Stay Safe While Giving Thanks

With nearly 80% of the Madison County population age 12 and above having received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, the City of Huntsville is encouraging citizens to continue making smart decisions this holiday season.

Jeff Birdwell, director of the Huntsville-Madison County Emergency Management Agency, said those who plan to gather with family or friends this Thanksgiving can enjoy their holiday while still taking precautions to prevent another surge in COVID-19.

“Thanks to the vaccine and other public health measures, we’re in a great place right now as we enter the holidays,” Birdwell said. “We can continue to keep COVID-19 at bay by following a few simple steps proven to limit the spread of the virus in our community.”

Last year, Alabama experienced an upsurge in COVID-19 cases after the holidays. At the time, the COVID-19 vaccine was not widely available. Even though cases, hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID-19 have dropped significantly since late summer, the Alabama Department of Public Health advises individuals and families to remain cautious as the virus can be unpredictable.

Jeff Samz, CEO of Huntsville Hospital, said masking remains effective in limiting the spread of COVID-19, especially in those who are unvaccinated. Face covers are also helpful in reducing the transmission of other respiratory diseases such as influenza and RSV.

“We continue to encourage masking, especially in indoor situations where exposure is increased,” Samz said.

As our community prepares to gather with friends and family for Thanksgiving, Crestwood Medical Center CEO Dr. Pam Hudson is asking citizens to reflect on the sacrifices our health care and frontline workers have made throughout the pandemic.

“This Thanksgiving, I am so grateful for the service of our health care and other essential workers in keeping our community safe,” she said. “I am also grateful for the increasing percentages of our local community who are vaccinated and the steady use of masking.”

Looking for ways you can safely celebrate? Here are a few ideas:

  • Get the vaccine. Thanksgiving may be days away, but there’s still time to get your shot or booster. Available at your local health department, pharmacies and the Community Vaccination Clinic at John Hunt Park, the COVID vaccine is safe, convenient and highly effective against the coronavirus.
  • Step outside. If possible, spend time outdoors during your holiday celebrations. Why? Because crowded, poorly ventilated spaces with persons not in your household, especially those who are unvaccinated, pose a larger risk of spreading COVID-19.
  • Wear a mask. In areas with substantial to high transmission of the virus, health officials recommend wearing a mask when grocery shopping, in public indoor settings or when serving food.
  • Not feeling well? Stay home. If you’ve been exposed to or have COVID-like symptoms, do not host or attend a gathering.
  • Get tested. If you’re feeling unwell or have potentially been exposed to COVID, visit your health care provider for testing.