Nick McWilliams reporting – While COVID-19 remains active around the country, health officials are offering suggestions for safe Thanksgiving gatherings.

Tuscarawas County Health Department Director of Health Promotion and Community Relations Jennifer Demuth says that her office is not asking for people to stay away during the holidays, rather take safe practices into consideration.

As always, anyone feeling sick should stay at home, and think of providing ventilation to homes in any way possible with gatherings, and consider wearing a mask if not fully vaccinated.

“When you’re eating, you’re not going to wear a mask. But, perhaps, sit at a table with people who you’re already exposed to on a regular basis. People in your own household. That way, you’re not potentially exposing someone new to whatever germs you may be carrying.”

Rapid COVID-19 tests taken the day before or the morning of Thanksgiving get-togethers are a good way to check if someone is infected with the virus.

Frequent handwashing, proper sanitizing of surfaces, and always covering coughs and sneezes with the inside of an elbow will all assist as well.

With buffet-style serving, residents are asked to wash hands before or after utilizing utensils, or provide hand sanitizer at the end.

“Another idea is having one family member, possibly the host or hostess, do the serving, making sure that family member washes his or her hands first. And then, that person is handling all the utensils and putting food on the individual plates for folks.”

Demuth reminds residents that vaccines and boosters are available for all adults, and still remains the best way to combat COVID-19.

The TCHD staff is wishing all a happy and healthy holiday season.

Copyright WTUZ Radio Inc., 2021