The holidays are usually a time for big gatherings of family and friends, but 2020 has been anything but usual and health officials are urging people to use caution and limit the size of their celebrations as we head towards Thanksgiving. Both the U.P. and Northeast Wisconsin are in the midst of surges of coronavirus activity and there’s concern that people coming together at the Thanksgiving table could drive those numbers even higher. Dr. Ivy Vachon with Bellin Health says the safest celebration this year is a virtual one but, if you are heading out to or hosting a big turkey dinner, she’s stressing the importance of masking, social distancing, and other preventative measures to make sure cheer is the only thing you’re spreading this holiday season.

If you’ve got a college student in your family and they’re heading home for the holidays, ideally they should self-isolate in their dorm or apartment before they leave or as soon as they arrive home. However, Dr. Vachon says it’s all about assessing and managing the risk for each individual family.

Seven governors from across the Midwest issued a joint statement this week imploring residents to keep safety a top priority this season. The CDC has listed traveling for Thanksgiving as a high-risk activity and they recommended modifying holiday plans to reduce the spread of COVID-19.