Wake County launches ‘Healthier Holidays’ campaign to keep families safe during pandemic


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – As COVID-19 cases continue to rise ahead of Thanksgiving, Wake County leaders and health officials issued a warning asking anyone gathering on the holiday to keep their safety in mind.

The county launched a “Healthier Holidays” campaign, to encourage families to follow guidelines on Thanksgiving to limit the spread of the virus.

The campaign was announced the same day North Carolina hit a single-day record for new COVID-19 cases.

“These are staggering numbers folks and more people will continue to get sick if we don’t take the right steps over the Thanksgiving holiday,” said Wake County Board of Commissioners Chairman Greg Ford.

Dr. Nicole Mushonga, Wake County’s associate medical director and Epidemiology Program director, said she fears more clusters of COVID19 will appear after Thanksgiving gatherings if people do not social distance, wear masks, and frequently wash thier hands.

“If someone does have the virus at that gathering, they can spread it to multiple people,” said Mushonga. “That is a huge concern for us and then that spread and that impact on the community.”

Mushonga recommends people wear face coverings, even when social distancing is possible.

State restrictions limit indoor gatherings to 10 people and fewer than 50 if it’s held outdoors.

The smaller the group, the lower the risk of spreading COVID-19.

“The best way to show your family and friends you love them is to limit your guest list to just those who live in your home,” said Mushonga.

When it comes to hosting Thanksgiving dinner, Mushonga recommends using smaller tables, spread six feet apart rather than one large table with people who live together seated together.

Rather than using one long table, seat guests at several small tables spaced six feet apart.

Mushonga said an outdoor setting in preferable to an indoor one, but if that’s not possible, open the windows or sliding doors to increase ventilation.

She recommends running an HVAC system’s fan and make sure filters are clean.

At dinnertime, Mushonga said it’s a good idea to designate one person to plate and serve the food to reduce the spreading germs. She also recommends using disposable cups, encouraging guests to write their names on them so no one accidentally drinks out of someone else’s’ cup.

She suggests having guests frequently wash thier hands, and recommends putting hand sanitize throughout the house for people to use.

Mushonga recommends connecting virtually over with older or at-risk relatives rather than in person so there’s no risk of transmission.

“We know this is a difficult request. We know you miss spending time with your extended family and friends. We know you’re tired of COVID19 preventing you from enjoying the holiday traditions with the people you care about most. We understand because we are living it too,” she said.

County leader also suggest skipping Black Friday shopping inside crowded stores, and opt for curbside pickup or online shopping.

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