HMG Health Matters: Modifications to holiday plans may help keep families healthy into the new year

HMG Health Matters

(WJHL)- We’ve been saying for weeks now that this holiday season will look a little different.

Enjoying time with friends and family will be a different experience for a lot of people.

News Channel 11’s Sara Diamond sat down with Dr. Scott Fowler, President & CEO of Holston Medical Group to find out how he is navigating these unfamiliar waters and his look ahead to 2021.

Family traditions are monumental this time of year.  It seems COVID has taken some of them away, even for Holston Medical Group President & CEO Dr. Scott Fowler.

This year, things will be a little different for the Fowlers, including a smaller gathering, and  14-day quarantine before his family gets together.

“We’ll do a 14-day countdown,” Doctor Fowler says.  “We will still wear our masks, and stay six feet away, at least in the beginning when we’re trying to figure out where everything is, and we’ll go from there.”

Doctor Fowler says celebrations will differ from family to family, especially when there are people at high risk of complications from COVID.

“Those people might not want to get together in a group at all.  This may be the year, and I know it’s depressing.  I don’t think it will be forever, and maybe there’s a way you can do it safely, but you’ve got to be very careful with that risk,” he advises.

He says there are some things you can do to reduce the spread between family members.

“I think staying six feet apart, not eating off each others’ plates is smart or drinking from each others’ cups.  If you’re truly at low risk for the disease, which I think most people are,  then I don’t think you need to be overly worried about it. Enjoy your Christmas,” he says.

As for predictions for next year, Fowler says it’s not going to be over for a while.  However, there is hope in the form of a possible COVID vaccine on the horizon, the clinical trials of which HMG has a role.

“Maybe six months from now, we can really start thinking about more getting back to normal,” he says.  “That would be the earliest. Until then, we’re still going to be wearing masks, and we’re still going to be worrying about people.”

Dr. Fowler says during these challenges, it’s important to remember your blessings.

“We will conquer this,” he says.  “It will take its toll, but I think in an attempt to really focus our efforts on doing a good job of addressing this threat, we have scared people a lot out of context of what our everyday life is.  What we do every day and how we live our lives, it’s very important we do it the right way in spite of COVID.”

Dr. Fowler also said vigilance with safety practices will hopefully make an impact as we move closer to a vaccine and its distribution.  

Holston Medical Group has been a partner in vaccine trials.

It is one of only 120 clinical investigational sites around the world that will hopefully generate a safe and effective vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19.

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