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SCDHEC concerned about Thanksgiving COVID spike, cases going up previous to the holidays

Published: Nov. 25, 2021 at 10:31 PM EST
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ROCK HILL, S.C. (WBTV) - Gathering around the table is a Thanksgiving tradition.

That went out the window for many families last year as COVID raged through the population. This year, gathering is extra special as more families get together once again.

The Palmetto state health agency’s top doctor is still asking people to follow safety protocols this holiday season.

For many people, Thanksgiving looked like a computer screen pulled up to a video chat software last year. Less turkey on the mind and more COVID-19.

”From the beginning, we just said we can just meet virtually,” says one woman last year.

But families say they are meeting around the turkey like it is 2019.

”We weren’t together last year like that so this year we get to be together,” says Vadarrian King.

King says he will make up lost time by doing everything with family.

”Enjoying family, chilling with family, being with family,” he says.

That closeness, while encouraged, is creating concern for the Department of Health and Environmental Control with recent COVID numbers.

”We’ve seen a decline in cases for 10 consecutive weeks. Unfortunately, now that is not the case,” says Dr. Brannon Traxler.

A week with 4,500 cases shot up to almost 5,200 the next.

”The absolute worst thing that could happen is suffering another significant surge that will bring more hospitalizations and deaths after we did such good work bringing cases down for those 10 weeks,” she says.

DHEC’s Dr. Brannon Traxler says the same vaccines that helped get us around the Thanksgiving table will be the ones keeping the surge at bay. And even after doing that continue to wash hands, wear masks when needed and socially distance.

”It’s going to take all of us banding together to make it through this holiday season and this winter with minimal damage. But we know it’s possible if everyone is willing to do their part,” she says.

That way we can all continue the holiday festivities with our families and our other favorite holiday “F” word.

”All the good food! And then more food,” says one family.

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