Holiday COVID-19 concerns continue as New Year’s Eve approaches

Local Coronavirus Coverage

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Thanksgiving, Christmas, and now New Year’s — health officials continue to warn people about COVID-19 surges as holiday celebrations continue.

“It’s hard to not travel and spend time with family over a holiday as important as Christmas,” said Dr. Blair Reese with ETSU Health. “So, I’m very fearful that we’re going to see a surge, on top of our already Thanksgiving surge.”

Though it’s too early to see if the Tri-Cities had a Christmas COVID-19 surge, health officials in our region remain alarmed of national case trends.

“This surge has occurred across the United States, and, you know, our area has seen a large amount of spread compared to many other areas,” said Dr. Clay Runnels, Ballad Health chief physician executive.

As many are making their way home from Christmas travels, doctors are asking people to quarantine if possible and to continue to follow CDC guidelines.

“Keep your gatherings small, keep distance as much as you possibly can, and wear your mask,” Dr. Runnels reiterates. “Use good hand hygiene. I think those are going to continue to be critically important.”

Health officials are looking to the near future and are concerned about New Year’s gatherings.

“Please, please stay home for New Year’s Eve,” said Dr. Reese. “Of everything that I’ve asked, I think that this is the easiest ask that I’m making, to not spend time with people outside, outside of your household for New Year’s Eve.”

Reese said that sacrifices this year can help in securing future celebrations.

“It may seem like a small thing, to have dinner with your mom or with your grandmother, but if you happen to give that loved one COVID-19 and they’re high risk and don’t survive, they won’t be here for next Christmas and they won’t be here for next New Year’s,” Reese said. “So the sacrifices that we can make now really do guarantee you that we can have a future with all of our loved ones.”

You can also find a list of New Year’s Eve celebration recommendations here.

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