LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Every year on the fourth Thursday of November, we gather with our loved ones to express our thankfulness, but this year’s holiday faces a pandemic shake up.
Southwest Louisiana has seen COVID cases rise over the past few weeks leading right up to Thanksgiving Day.
To prevent further spread through large holiday gatherings, local health officials are suggesting safe alternative ways to celebrate.
Angelita Dugas is the Infection Preventionist for CHRISTUS Ochsner Southwest Louisiana.
“We all enjoy our traditions, but this year has not been traditional,” Dugas said. “The lowest risk activities are going to be to plan a meal or dinner with the people who are in your immediate household. The moderate level risk activities would be to have a small gathering that’s brief that’s outdoors. The highest risk activity that you can plan with your family and friends this holiday season is to have the large indoor gatherings with the potluck style meals.”
Although it may be tough to make these changes, Dugas says it’s important to discuss.
“We have to have those conversations with our family members about how we’re going to protect each other and keep each other safe.”
So how are Lake Area residents spending the holiday?
“This year, we’re just going to keep it on the down low and just keep our immediate family in,” said Delicia Warner, a Lake Area resident.
“My mom’s not coming in. She’s a high risk, so it’s just really small this year, nothing big,” said Holly Armentor, a Lake Area resident. “We don’t want to risk anything.”
“We had to change all of our plans. It will just be our immediate family members,” said Lake Area resident Wendy Madden.
“We’re still having a small family get together, doing the usual, frying a turkey,” said Lake Area resident Tanya Theriot.
Dugas also says it’s important to remember this virus doesn’t discriminate.
“It doesn’t matter who you are,” Dugas said. “It doesn’t matter whether you’re a Republican, an Independent, a Democrat, it doesn’t matter if you want to go enjoy football or eat dinner, we’re all susceptible to this. The best thing we can do this year in showing our family members that we care is by limiting the chance that we could give them COVID.”
Another way to safely celebrate is to use Zoom’s free Thanksgiving calls to spend time with your family.