CENTRAL VALLEY, Calif. (KSEE) – In an interview with KSEE24 News, California Health and Human Services Agency Dr. Mark Ghaly urged residents not to gather this Thanksgiving and follow guidelines.
“Tomorrow is really a chance to stop the surge,” Ghaly said. “To make a decision to behave differently and make different choices for a period of time.”
COVID-19 hospitalizations in Fresno County have more than doubled in a little more than three weeks and hospitalizations continue to rise throughout the state.
“I have to say I’m very concerned,” Ghaly said.
Local hospital and health officials came together on Tuesday urging residents to be mindful of their decisions to prevent hospitals and the healthcare workforce from getting overwhelmed.
“I think those hospital leaders are right on,” Ghaly said. “The frank truth is the cases that they’re seeing in their hospitals today happened a couple of weeks ago. All these new cases we’re reporting, all that transmission that’s happening now, that might happen around our dinner tables, that’s really going to impact our system in a couple of weeks and that’s going to be even more added, greater pressure.”
If someone does find themself gathering with other households, Ghaly says:
- Keep the number of people limited
- Make sure you don’t leave without your mask and have it on as much as possible
- Consider moving the meal outside and earlier like at 2 p.m.
- Keep it short
“I know it’s hard when you’re eating and drinking to keep your mask on but we ask you to as much as possible to keep it on because it will make a difference,” Ghaly said.
He added that when Californians are making those Thanksgiving decisions, they think of those on the frontlines.
“I plead to people and say ‘do it for your healthcare workers, those nurses, those doctors, those radiology techs, all the people who are going to be part of providing care, they need a break too, and I think this is our chance to appreciate them and all their hard work for many, many months by making another choice,’” he said.
A major concern local health officials Ghaly express is the staffing shortage.
“The support of our communities for their healthcare workers come in the decisions we make, the decisions not to gather in a way that creates a risk of transmission,” Ghaly said. “I think even the community coming around and saying we’re making a decision not to have the big, festive, large Thanksgiving gathering is a symbol and a signal to those healthcare workers that we have their backs.”