coronavirus

Doctors Weigh In on Post-Holiday Return to Normal for Families, Students, Travelers

There is hope on the horizon, but doctors say people still need to continue safety measures and following CDC guidelines

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The first Sunday of 2021 marks a busy day for travelers returning home and families getting back to their routines. 

Health officials across North Texas are bracing for a rise in COVID-19 cases following the Christmas and New Year's Holidays. Across North Texas, fewer than 100 ICU beds remain open and more than 3,700 people are hospitalized due to COVID-19.

Methodist Health System will begin giving second doses of the Pfizer vaccine to frontline employees Monday; exactly 21 days after they were the first in North Texas to get their first inoculations. 

As people begin to prepare to return to what has become the new normal, two North Texas doctors urged extra caution after the holidays.

Dr. Mark Casanova, president of the Dallas County Medical Society, recommended staying home a little longer if it's an option.

“Give strong consideration to working from home, if possible," he said. "If your children have the option to at least resume school on a virtual basis, give strong consideration to that."

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While COVID-19 vaccines offer a shot of hope, Casanova said they are not a cure-all.  

“Let’s not let the light at the end of the tunnel turn out to be a freight train. Let’s continue those safe measures,” Casanova said.

He clarified what families should do if one member of a household tests positive for COVID-19 days after an initial positive test in the same home.

“If the teenage children test positive several days after mom and dad, mom and dad are still on their clock, and then their teenage children have set their clock from the timeframe that they have tested positive or became symptomatic,” Casanova said.

A Fort Worth physician emphasized contacting a doctor if unsure of what to do after a positive test.

Health officials across North Texas are bracing for a rise in COVID-19 cases following the Christmas and New Year’s Holidays. Across North Texas, fewer than 100 ICU beds remain open and more than 3,700 people are hospitalized due to COVID-19.

“It’s a tough call for how you reset the clock, and when you reset the clock, but we ask anyone in the public to exercise their judgment, and if they’re not certain, to contact their physician,” said Dr. Mohanakrishnan Sathyamoorthy, department chair of internal medicine at the TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine. 

Casanova said quarantining for 14 days after a positive test remains the gold standard if people can do it.  

Both doctors said anyone who thinks they were exposed to COVID-19 should consider getting tested, and consider a self-imposed quarantine.

NBC 5's Jack Highberger contributed to this report.

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