Health leaders in Putnam County are urging residents to make smart decisions in advance of the Thanksgiving holiday this year to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
Traveling and large in-person gatherings with family and friends not in your immediate household are two of the easiest ways to spread the novel Coronavirus, particularly when dining and drinking are involved. With Thanksgiving now less than a week away, Putnam County Health Department (PCHD) officials are asking residents to reimagine their holiday traditions.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), safe, low-risk alternatives could include virtual celebrations at home, contactless delivery of favorite holiday recipes, and online shopping this year’s Black Friday sales. Health officials say small outdoor gatherings are safer than indoors but still present a moderate risk for disease infection. Traveling out of town is highly discouraged and, in some states, has already been addressed with government-mandated travel restrictions.
“The goal is not for you and your family to cancel Thanksgiving, but rather, to be reminded that there are deadly risks associated with partaking in activities that go against recommended public health guidelines,” explained Cindy Farley, Chair of the PCHD Board of Directors. “We want people to enjoy the holiday, celebrate safely and take the necessary precautions to protect loved ones and neighbors in the community.”
If you must travel for Thanksgiving or plan to host or attend a gathering, PCHD health officials recommend getting a COVID-19 test in advance. Drive-thru testing is available in Putnam County seven days a week at various locations. Details about scheduled testing events are routinely updated on PCHD’s Facebook page and at pchdwv.org. As of the date of this release, testing is scheduled to take place:
Monday, November 23, 10 am – 2 pm
Hurricane First Church of the Nazarene | 358 US-60, Hurricane, WV
Tuesday, November 24, 10 am – 2 pm
Teays Valley Church of God | 185 Connection Point, Scott Depot, WV
Dr. Michael Robie, PCHD Medical Director and Health Officer, also recommends getting your flu vaccine in advance of the holiday if you have not already done so. “It’s important to remember that Coronavirus is not the only threat of illness this winter. Protecting yourself against the seasonal flu is another critical component of holiday preparedness and staying healthy,” said Dr. Robie.
Putnam County Health Department offers flu shots by appointment Monday thru Friday at their office on Winfield Road. To schedule, community members may call 304-757.2541. Flu vaccines are also available at most retail pharmacies in the area.
For more information on holiday safety, local COVID-19 updates and scheduled testing events, click here.