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Despite CDC warnings, people plan to gather for Thanksgiving: Here's how to reduce your risk of catching COVID-19

Masks, social distancing and gathering outside are some ways to reduce your risk, but only if used altogether.

HOUSTON — Despite the CDC's warnings that people should not gather with those outside their households during the Thanksgiving holiday, some will not heed those warnings.

Infectious disease doctors say those who plan to take that risk should also take precautions, especially as Texas set a record for cases reported in a single day on Wednesday, marking the fourth time in seven days that Texas set a new record.

Dr. Catherine Troisi, an infectious disease epidemiologist at UTHealth School of Public Health, said people who plan to gather with those from outside their household should use a combination of measures:

  • Wearing a mask when not eating or drinking
  • Staying at least 6 feet apart from any other person at all times
  • Holding the gathering outside

She said it is too late at this point for families to begin planning a quarantine period before getting together and that a negative COVID-19 test result does not mean immunity; it simply means that at the time the test was taken, the person was not positive.

She said even someone with a negative test result from a specimen collected on Monday could develop viral particles in the following days.

She also urged anyone who is currently quarantining and waiting on test results to continue to isolate until the planned gathering.

While none of these measures will guarantee that a person will not get COVID-19, they can reduce the risk, but only when used together.

"These measures are like slices of Swiss cheese. Masks will certainly protect you and others around you, but not if you don't social distance, or gather outside. It's when you overlap all these measures that you increase their efficiency," Dr. Troisi said.

On KHOU 11 News at 10, Dr. Troisi dispels a common misconception about gathering in the home.

This story will be updated.