Health officials: It's OK to gather for Thanksgiving, just do it safer

Right now, Minnesota has some of the highest COVID-19 positivity rates than anywhere else in the country, but health officials have not issued stay home orders ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

According to the Mayo Clinic’s COVID-19 tracking map, only Michigan and New Hampshire have higher rates of community transmission in the United States right now. 

The current seven-day average positivity rate in Minnesota is 9.9 percent. During our state’s peak, in November of last year, the positivity rate was more than 14 percent. 

"Unfortunately we’re getting close to where we were last year," Dr. George Morris of CentraCare said. 

Dr. Morris says, especially for fully vaccinated people, he doesn’t recommend calling off Thanksgiving gatherings all together. 

"I believe we can [gather] and I believe we should… I do think there are ways we can do that safer," Dr. Morris said. 

He says fully vaccinated people gathering with other fully vaccinated people have a low risk of getting sick. Currently, 2.25 percent of Minnesotans who have received the vaccine have gotten breakthrough cases of COVID-19.

"If two percent is our breakthrough rate for serious illness and hospitalization, that’s awesome. I mean, imagine something that’s 98 percent effective. That’s an A plus, go back to your school days and grades," Dr. Morris said. 

He says if you’re not vaccinated or are gathering with people who aren’t vaccinated or might be vulnerable, you should get tested in the days before your event. 

"That way you know how safe you are and the people you’re gathering with can know how safe the event is," Dr. Morris said. 

There are around a dozen no-cost COVID-19 testing sites around the metro, as well as hundreds of pharmacies and grocery stores that offer testing. For more information on where to find a testing facility, click here.