State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris shared a warning on Monday about what could happen in Alabama this Thanksgiving if we ignore coronavirus guidelines.
"We don't want this to be the last ever Thanksgiving for someone in your family, like your parents or your grandparents," he said.
Health officials are stressing how important it is to stop the spread of coronavirus cases and said we are seeing the most rapid increase of positive cases in the state since the pandemic started.
Harris spotlighted the rate in which people are dying from this pandemic in Alabama. The death rate is 1.5%, and that's 15 times greater than the rate with the flu. Harris said it's more important now than ever that we take the virus seriously.
With Thanksgiving this week, health officials stressed following CDC recommendations about trying to limit people who you eat with that are not in your immediate household. If possible, they suggest either eating outside or having separate tables for people who live in different households. Since a lot of families normally have buffets of food, this year, health officials are asking for only one person to serve food for everyone, and for everyone at your gathering to stay in their mask until it's time to eat.
"What kind of Thanksgiving we have is going to go a long way to determine what December looks like, what's our holiday season going to look like, and what kind of numbers are we going to be seeing then," Harris added.
"We want you to remember this is one Thanksgiving hopefully out of many to come, and that we may have to make some changes and should make changes for this holiday season, but that is to allow us to have many more in the future," said Dr. Mary McIntryre, the Chief Medical Officer with ADPH.
Health officials said they're asking for anyone who chooses to travel for Thanksgiving to be smart about it, by wearing their mask, sanitizing and trying to stay separate to make sure you don't unknowingly expose your family or loved ones at high risk to the virus if you have it and aren't showing symptoms.