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Pandemic threatens to ruin Thanksgiving for Coloradans, visitors

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- With three weeks remaining until Thanksgiving, state and local leaders are asking people to limit contact with others during the next few weeks to help slow the ongoing spike in COVID-19 cases.

Gov. Jared Polis, in a media briefing Thursday, did not specifically mention Thanksgiving or say that people shouldn't celebrate it. However...

"We need to see (fewer) people, as difficult as that might be, for the next month," he said. "This is a wake-up call. Here's what we're asking Coloradans to do for the month of November. Interact only with members of your own household. That means do your best to avoid social interactions with friends. Avoid house parties. Avoid going out with others, or people who don't live in your home."

Polis also continues to emphasize the need for people to wear masks, practice social distancing, and wash and sanitize their hands.

People aren't ignoring that ongoing message, Polis said: Rather, the presidential election and the devastating wildfire season distracted many people from focusing on following health recommendations to avoid contracting or spreading the virus.

"If we make these changes during the month of November, we can be on a better trajectory for the holidays," the governor said. "Tell your friends and family that we need to buckle down and only associate with our household for the next month. Cancel your plans to see people who are not in your household, for the next few weeks."

During Polis' briefing, Dr. Rachel Herlihy, an epidemiologist with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, presented graphics to illustrate the seriousness of the situation.

"The (top two) lines show what will happen if we see less social distancing occur with the holidays, starting at Thanksgiving," she said, adding that the need for beds in hospital intensive care units would far surpass availability.

"We saw that same level of decreased social distancing associated with the Fourth of July and Labor Day," she said. "Our health care system will be at risk if we stay on this current path of disease transmission."

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers also discussed the matter during an interview earlier this week.

"Start thinking about how you can modify your Thanksgiving plans," he said. "Have smaller groups, more nuclear family groups. Informal gatherings are the number-one culprit in this spike."

For those of you reading this article, this is a subject you should think about now in the final weeks before Thanksgiving. Are you willing to cancel holiday travel plans, ask people to not come visit you, or have smaller gatherings to help slow the spread of the virus? Or will you attend a large gathering anyway, and put your Christmas celebration at risk?

Article Topic Follows: Coronavirus

Scott Harrison

Scott is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Scott here.

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