Concerning new COVID-19 numbers one week before Thanksgiving

WOBURN, Mass. — The purpose of this story is not to scare you into doing something different for Thanksgiving, but to simply give you the facts so you can make your own decision.

We received the latest data from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and it’s not good.

RELATED: Coronavirus: CDC warns against traveling for Thanksgiving amid COVID-19 pandemic

Thirty-three new communities have been added to the high-risk zone. Exactly one week before families will be gathered at the dinner table, we more than doubled the number of high-risk communities. And, 62 communities are now in the COVID 19 red zone, 17% of the state.

“For me personally, it is taking something that I’m already cautious about and making me even more wary with the holidays coming up,” said Woburn resident Danielle Sampson. “I don’t have a lot of family in the area but I know a lot of people do so mostly I’m worried about what other people will be doing. For the holiday weekend we’re staying home not even going out we can only hope everyone else stays safe.”

So what will everyone else be doing for Thanksgiving? We even asked Epidemiologist Hannah Gardener her plans.

“My husband and children and I will be having a Thanksgiving, just ourselves and we’ll be visiting with family afterward outside at a distance and everyone wearing masks still with a small group, but my children will be able to see their grandparents but in a safe setting, with the distance with masks and outside,” Gardener said. “I’m disappointed. I’m nervous. I’m not necessarily surprised (at the numbers) because that’s the trend that we’ve been seeing and we know that people aren’t adhering to all of the safety precautions. The combination of large gatherings and travel, I’m really worried with Thanksgiving approaching.”

If more than immediate family gather at the dinner table, health experts expect to see an uptick after Thursday, similar to what happened in Canada after their October Thanksgiving.

“They may be asymptomatic and that could be a problem to a grandmother or grandfather,” said Burlington resident Kelsey O’Brien.

“It’s only one whole day away from your family but you’ll be able to see them for years to come when we get this under control,” said Woburn resident Andrea Kirwan.

Still, that’s the question everyone wants to know. When will we get this under control?

“I just really hope everyone stays safe as they can make the best decisions as they can,” said Sampson. “I’m going to try and do my part to keep the community here safe and I hope everybody else does too.”

“People think they can go about business as usual until next Tuesday or Wednesday and then get a test, but be careful,” said Gardener. “You may not have a sufficient viral load to test positive but that doesn’t mean you are not infectious going into Thursday.”

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