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WBNS-10TV Columbus, Ohio | Columbus News, Weather & Sports |

Doctor urges people to take safety precautions if they gather for holidays

Health officials are asking people to limit social gatherings.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — With the recent increase in COVID-19 cases, many people are not able to celebrate upcoming holidays with friends or family.

Health officials are urging people to limit social gatherings.

If people do come together to celebrate, an infectious diseases doctor at OhioHealth said people need to take precautions.

“Nationally and as a state and in Columbus, if our rates go up after Thanksgiving, that’s going to be a really challenging time,” said Dr. Joseph Gastaldo.

Gastaldo said he’s staying hopeful that numbers change and go down, but he is concerned about the next few weeks to months.

“It’s a very contagious virus and a significant amount of people can be asymptomatic when they have this infection, so if you’re going to visit somebody, it’s almost like you’re a trojan horse if you have the virus and are bringing it into the household,” Dr. Gastaldo said.

Testing sites are booking up quickly, especially within the past few days.

Gastaldo said people are using testing as a bit of security.

He said it is smart to get tested regardless but there are some risks if that is the sole factor in whether or not to be around other people for the holidays.

“People need to understand the limitations of testing before going to visit somebody. Number one, you can have a false negative test, specifically if you’re early on in the disease process,” Dr. Gastaldo said.

He said if you receive a negative test, there is still a window to contract the virus before visiting someone.

Gastaldo said it is important to continue the basic safety precautions like wearing a mask, washing hands and to practice social distancing as much as possible.

He also said it is important to have appropriate ventilation in a home.

When it comes to eating or drinking, he suggested bringing your own food and utensils to a holiday visit.

He said it’s crucial to think all of this through before getting together.

There is a stay-at-home advisory in Franklin County that started Friday as well as a statewide curfew every night.