Dallas County

Family Gatherings & COVID: How to Plan for the Holidays

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With Thanksgiving now just two weeks ago, many North Texans are facing tough decisions about how to celebrate.

Wednesday, health officials in Dallas County issued new guidance to keep people safe.

The advice says the safest thing you can do is to celebrate with only the people in your household.

If you decide to join others, officials say handshakes and hugs should be avoided, and recommend the host and guests quarantine 14 days beforehand.

Other tips include limiting gatherings to two hours, eating outside or far apart from each other, and wearing masks when you aren't eating or drinking. Click here for the full guidelines on winter holiday gatherings from the Dallas County Public Health Committee.

Despite best measures, there's concern that Thanksgiving could accelerate the spread of COVID-19 even more, especially among college students.

How to Avoid COVID-19 Infection:

The best way to prevent infection is to take precautions to avoid exposure to this virus, which are similar to the precautions you take to avoid the flu. CDC always recommends these everyday actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

*Information shared from the Office of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott

It's why every major university in North Texas including TCU, SMU, UNT, UTA and UTD decided not to return to campus after Thanksgiving.

“When students return in January, I'm hopeful we'll start out at kind of a low number similar to how we started out this semester in August,” said  Dr. Cynthia Hermann,  executive director of the UNT Student Health & Wellness Center.

Starting Monday, November 16, TCU is hosting a COVID-19 mobile testing site. It'll run through December 4. Tests are free.


*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.

**County totals below include all 32 North Texas counties, not just Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant.


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