CDC on travel

Thanksgiving 2020 will look different at some homes around southern West Virginia, local residents reported.

On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reminded Americans that the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to “celebrate at home with the people you live with,” according to the CDC site.

More than 1 million Covid-19 cases were reported in the United States over the last seven days, according to the CDC. As a result, health officials were asking Americans to have dinner at home.

“Gatherings with family and friends who do not live with you can increase the chances of getting or spreading Covid-19 or the flu,” the CDC warned Monday.

Gov. Jim Justice on Monday issued the latest in a series of warnings to West Virginians to be careful during Thanksgiving.

Natalie Coots, a retired Raleigh County school teacher, said she will continue her family’s Thanksgiving traditions by preparing favorite foods and by “visiting” with her 94-year-old aunt over FaceTime.

This year, though, only immediate family will be at the Coots home.

“All of us obey the mask mandate, wash hands obsessively and socially distance,” she said.

Originally, her brother had planned to come to southern West Virginia from Florida, Coots said. Having recently recovered from an infection, he opted to stay at home and not risk travel.

Coots’ mother-in-law is currently housebound, she said, and Coots’ husband plans to take a Thanksgiving dinner plate to her home and to visit with her on Thanksgiving.

“We are, along with her caregivers, exposing her to as few other people as possible,” noted Coots.

The spirit of the Thanksgiving holidays will continue, however.

“It isn’t the holiday we planned, but it’s what we have,” said Coots, “and we will focus on the things for which we are grateful, rather than the negatives.”

Others in Oak Hill reported that they plan to adhere to CDC guidelines.

Mark Shott said that he and his wife will eat at their home. Outside of their pets, they will be the only ones present.

“I totally believe science,” Shott said. “Follow CDC guidelines.

“I have family here in Oak Hill, but we have chosen not to mix and mingle for the holidays so (that) we might do it next year, safely.”

Retired Oak Hill High School social studies teacher Bill Staples of Oak Hill said that he and his wife usually travel to Pittsburgh to spend time with his son and other family members.

This year, they will stay home.

“We believe in science and what the experts are advising us to do,” he said.

National Public Radio reported Monday that millions of Americans are traveling for Thanksgiving, however.

The Transportation Security Administration reported that more than 1.04 million people went through airport security checkpoints Sunday, the most since mid-March, and about one million more went through TSA checkpoints each day on Friday and Saturday, according to the NPR report.

The numbers are still less than half those for travelers who flew last year on commercial airlines the weekend before Thanksgiving, but this year’s figures suggest airports are more crowded and planes fuller than they’ve been at any time since the pandemic began.

Loretta Runyon of Oak Hill said that she will have around 10 relatives at her home for dinner. Some are coming from North Carolina.

“We are doing Thanksgiving same as always,” she said. “Kids and grandkids, mom.

“Everyone always scatters,” she described the typical gathering. “If it’s nice, guys usually end up on the back porch.”

Amy Smith of Fayetteville said her own family is having a small “quarantine potluck” for about 10 people.

They will set up a buffet beneath a carport, and households will take turns getting their plates. Each family will sit in a “zone” outdoors.

“We’ll miss the camaraderie of two days in a busy kitchen, packed full of people working and visiting, but have full faith in the science behind the social distancing and staying local,” Smith said.

Roy Shrewsbury III, a health care worker who lives in Daniels, joked that he plans to eat potted meat and Saltines. He said he will be alone in his room and that he will wear his N-100 mask.

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