DES MOINES, Iowa —
The Polk County Health Department warned Monday that health care providers are overwhelmed and and metro hospitals have been leaning on rural hospitals to help treat COVID-19 patients.
Public health officials project positive cases and hospitalizations will substantially increase after the Thanksgiving holiday.
“After every holiday in 2020, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day and Halloween, we have seen COVID-19 cases increase in our county,” said Helen Eddy, director of the Polk County Health Department. “The Thanksgiving holiday is no different. Our positive cases and hospitalizations are too high to forget about the dangers and the consequences of this virus.”
The Polk County Health Department strongly encourages you to follow these tips:
- Limit celebrating Thanksgiving to only your immediate household. When inviting others to celebrate the holiday outside of your immediate household, you are greatly increasing your risk of COVID-19.
- If you are in isolation or in quarantine for COVID-19, do NOT attend Thanksgiving celebrations. You are potentially exposing your family and friends to this virus.
- Individuals who are elderly or have underlying health conditions should not attend Thanksgiving gatherings. Think about other ways to celebrate such as virtual dinners.
- If you are celebrating indoors, try to open windows and doors to keep fresh air circulating.
- Before you go shopping, make a list of everything you need. This will limit your time in the stores and help reduce your risk of COVID-19.
- ALWAYS wear a mask and practice social distancing whenever you leave your home.
“Please think about our hospital and health care workers as you celebrate the holiday,” said Eddy. “They have been fighting this virus and taking care of patients since March. Keep them safe and healthy by making smart choices and reduce community spread this Thanksgiving.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have additional resources to celebrate Thanksgiving safety on this website.