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Local Holiday Virtual Gatherings Are the Safest Say Experts

And with the holiday season near, health officials advise against large gatherings to avoid more outbreaks. Virtual connections are encouraged, and a nonprofit said planning can make for a better experience.
Nola Aigner Davis, public information officer for the Polk County Health Department, said pandemic fatigue is still resulting in people not following guidelines in social situations. For those hoping to have friends and family over for Thanksgiving, she advised they should play it safe.

She added that especially can put vulnerable attendees, including seniors, at greater risk for infection. The Centers for Disease Control has similar recommendations.
For loved ones outside your home, groups such as AARP urge planning virtual connections with a theme, such as baking or reminiscing about family traditions and stories, can be a nice alternative, even if you are miles apart.
At the onset of the pandemic, ideas such as “virtual happy hours” caught on, but health experts say too many people saw them as no match for in-person festivities, resulting in larger crowds during the warmer months.
Julie Betts, associate state director for communications at AARP Iowa, said while the thought of a virtual connection may seem like a less than personal experience, it doesn’t have to be that way.

She suggested if possible, bringing mobile devices into kitchens at the same time and baking a favorite family recipe together. Other tips can be found on the AARP website.
Meanwhile, Betts noted isolation for older Americans still is a major concern right now. She advised anyone with a loved one in a care facility to do all they can to engage with that person safely over the holidays.


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