BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (NBC 26) — With Thanksgiving day gatherings just around the corner, local health care leaders are reminding everyone that new cases of COVID-19 are likely going to increase following the holiday. On Tuesday, public health officials share what you should be considering if you're meeting up with others to celebrate the season.
About 56 percent of Wisconsinites are fully vaccinated at this point, it's a move that will likely make holiday gatherings a bit less stressful for many. But vaccination trends have dropped recently, despite eligibility for the shot opening up to those five years of age or older.
"Whether they're at school, playing with their friends, or spending time with family, vaccinating your kids means they can do the things that they love while also staying safe and healthy," says Michelle Myers an Oneida Nation Public Health Officer.
On Tuesday health care leaders from northeast Wisconsin stressed the importance of everyone getting vaccinated. Health care leaders also emphasized how vital booster shots are as the community heads into the winter months and holidays.
"Science has shown that our protection has decreased over time so this booster dose will help to increase the immunity again, that we need right now," says Debbi Armbruster, the Public Health Officer with the city of De Pere.
And with Thanksgiving gatherings likely on the agenda for many in the days ahead, now is the time to consider how you can help ensure all of your guest's safety.
"With the cases continuing to rise in our community we want to make sure that everyone has the information available to them to celebrate safely and keep your loved ones healthy," adds Anna Destree a Brown County Public Health Officer.
Health care leaders say if you plan on hosting a gathering you should consider having your home a bit more ventilated this year, perhaps by cracking some windows. Another suggestion is to space out seating arrangements to encourage more social distancing among your guests. Additionally, health leaders are once again suggesting people at gatherings wear masks and consider testing for COVID-19 prior to gatherings.
"If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or were in close contact with someone with COVID-19 please get tested. In fact, even if you think you're healthy consider getting tested prior to attending indoor gatherings," adds Destree.
And with travel over the holiday anticipated returning to pre-pandemic levels, health care leaders hope their subtle recommendations can help families stay safe this Thanksgiving.
"What we're trying to avoid is people being severely ill, or hospitalized, or even deaths," adds Claire Paprocki with the Brown County Public Health Department.