‘Make simple sacrifices‘: Miss. health officials warn no traditional holiday gatherings

Updated: Nov. 20, 2020 at 2:40 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Tis’ the season of giving, sharing and gathering around hot cocoa with family to enjoy Hallmark movies, but the 2020 holiday season may have to look a little different.

Health officials in Mississippi caution you to limit all social gatherings and be uber careful.

Mississippi Hospital Association, Mississippi State Medical Association, Mississippi State Department of Health and Mississippi Nurses Association gathered Friday for a press conference.

Experts say preventing community spread is critical to keeping health care employees well enough to care for patients and stopping the spread of the virus.

Social gatherings are leading to more community spread, officials warn, and the spread is making gatherings during the upcoming holiday season even riskier.

“We need your help,” Dr. Timothy H. Moore, President, CEO of the Mississippi Hospital Association said. “All we’re asking you to do is limit social gathering to the people who live in your home, wear a mask, implement social distancing and wash your hands often.”

Officials say our hospital system is overwhelmed by staffing shortages and an increasing number of patients coming into the hospital from other states. Experts say they have seen spikes during each holiday this year and if Mississippians don’t heed warnings, they fear hospitalizations will spike this Christmas.

State health organizations said doctors, nurses and hospital staff are working tirelessly to help sick patients get their lives back.

“I am blown away when I observe with my own eyes the dedication our nurses have to our patients. I was talking one nurse who was tired and was unable to sleep because of overwhelming thoughts of taking care of patients. It’s a herculean task,” Tonya Moore, PhD, RN, President of the Mississippi Nurses Association said. “We continue to feel the demand that COVID-19 is placing on us, but we can all do our part by showing leadership and personal responsibility.”

Officials say gatherings of any size will cause a spread if you’re with individuals who do not currently live in your household.

“I urge you to focus on the things that you can control. Make simple sacrifices. Don’t have a Thanksgiving celebration with people outside of your immediate family,” Dr. Thomas Dobbs, Miss. Health Officer said.

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