Thanksgiving holiday rolls up on calendar, COVID-19 holds tight grip

A pandemic knows no timeline.

Concerns over an uptick in positive cases of the novel coronavirus in Manatee County now require careful planning for Thanksgiving, Nov. 26.

As of Nov. 12, 90 cases were reported on Anna Maria Island since March 1, with 45 in Holmes Beach, 34 in Bradenton Beach and 11 in Anna Maria.

At a teleconferenced Manatee County Commission meeting Nov. 10, Jake Saur, county public safety director, said positive cases of COVID-19 have increased, but are not as high as the numbers reported late July, when the virus spiked in Manatee.

The rate of positive cases of all those tested the week of Nov. 8 was 6%, compared with 9% the week of July 26.

“Since September, a steady rise in the number of new cases has taken place,” Saur said, adding that in early September, the county averaged a rate of about 25 new positive cases each day, which has since nearly quadrupled.

From Nov. 7-11, 479 new cases were documented in the county, according to the Florida Department of Health.

“While we are not as high as the daily totals we saw during the peak of the outbreak, it is something to pay attention to,” Saur said.

Holmes Beach Mayor Judy Titsworth said Nov. 12 that instead of having a large gathering with her entire family, people are having smaller family dinners.

“Looks like the turkeys will all be a little smaller this year,” she said.

While many people are opting to restrict the size of gatherings this Thanksgiving, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has offered guidelines, including:

  • Have a small outdoor meal with close family and friends, staying 6 feet apart from people you don’t live with when possible;
  • Have a conversation with guests in advance to set expectations;
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items between use;
  • If celebrating indoors, open windows;
  • Have guests bring their own food and drinks;
  • If sharing food, use single-serve options, such as disposable plates and utensils;
  • Wear a mask and store it while eating and drinking.

Additionally, the CDC provided suggestions for alternative Thanksgiving activities, such as:

  • Host a virtual Thanksgiving meal with distant friends and family;
  • Safely prepare dishes and deliver them to family and friends.

For more tips and guidelines for the holidays, people can visit www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays/thanksgiving.html.