Health officials optimistic families can gather in-person safely at Thanksgiving this year

COVID-19 Vaccine

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — While there’s still an 11% average of positive COVID-19 tests in Woodbury County over the last two weeks, health officials stress that fully vaccinated people should feel safe gathering for Thanksgiving in-person this year.

“But when you’re with your family at home, goodness, enjoy it with your parents, your children, your grandparents. There’s no reason not to do that,” said Chief Medical Adviser on COVID-19, Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Siouxland District Health’s Deputy Director Tyler Brock backed up Dr. Fauci’s sentiments, saying that the area is in a much better position now than last year heading into Thanksgiving, when Brock said Siouxland hit its peak for new COVID-19 cases at around 800 per week.

“We are in a better position case-wise this year as opposed to last year. We’re also in a lot better position this year because of the tools that people have to take care of themselves whether it be ample testing supplies, whether it be vaccine, whether it be early treatment options such as monoclonal antibodies,” said Brock.

Morningside University students are in a different spot this year as the fall semester ended early at Thanksgiving break in 2020 with students’ final exams completed online from home. Some are looking forward to seeing extended family after missing out last season.

“Last year we didn’t gather at all just because of COVID and we have so many family members that are immunocompromised so we just said nothing for Thanksgiving or Christmas but for this year we’re all vaccinated,” said Morningside junior Sarah Severes.

Students are also seeing a slow transition back to normalcy on campus after a school year filled with isolation.

“Last year was a lot different just because masks were big, social distancing, lot of Zooms, lot of online classes as well, but it’s a lot nicer this year to be able to be back and just be a normal college student,” said sophomore Caleb Watson.

Dr. Fauci still advises travelers to wear masks in crowded public areas as well as airports but that when around family, all restrictions should be off.

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