Pass the stuffing on Zoom this year
Celebrate Thanksgiving differently, Baker says
GOV. CHARLIE BAKER urged Massachusetts residents to celebrate Thanksgiving differently this year, limiting any gatherings to people you live with or with whom you are regularly in contact.
Any bigger gathering, the governor’s top COVID advisor said, should be done remotely. “You could actually Zoom Thanksgiving with your family and friends across the country,” said Marylou Sudders, the secretary of health and human services.
Baker and Sudders said the science is clear that a traditional Thanksgiving, with people gathering indoors for most of the day to eat, watch football, and eat some more, is not appropriate during COVID. Sudders called it “the worst possible scenario for spreading the virus.”
If a gathering does extend beyond immediate family, Sudders urged attendees to wear masks when not eating or drinking, to limit food preparation to as few people as possible, to avoid serving food buffet style, to open doors and windows to bring in fresh air, and to have guests bring their own food and drink.
In late August, the Baker administration began focusing on COVID spread among individual communities across the state. Now the administration is preparing to dig deeper into clusters of cases occurring within communities.
Sudders said there were 1,216 new cases on Monday. Of the total, she said, 25 came from long term care facilities, 25 from higher ed facilities, 34 from houses of worship, 36 from social clubs, 538 from 19 of the state’s high-risk communities, and 558 were not traced to any particular cluster.
Sudders said a number of cases were traced to the Elks Club and the Pleasant Park Yacht Club. in Winthrop and the Crossroads Community Church in Fitchburg, which was sanctioned for opening the church for retreats.Hockey rinks across the state were shut down for two weeks after 110 cases emerged in 30 clusters. The shutdown, running through November 7, was precipitated by resistance by adults to efforts to track down the causes of the outbreaks. Baker said many teams refused to provide rosters of players and many adults refused to cooperate with contact tracers, a situation that the governor’s aides said would soon be rectified
Baker said it appears the spread of cases occurred as adults gathered in groups during the course of a day of watching hockey games. “It’s about a lot more than time on the ice,” Baker said.