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Healthcare workers urge Kentuckians to avoid traditional Thanksgiving celebrations

Posted at 11:20 PM, Nov 24, 2020

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — What's normally a happy time of the year has Dr. Elizabeth Hawse feeling a sense of dread.

As COVID-19 cases continue to spike, she's concerned Kentuckians will go forward with plans for traditional Thanksgiving celebrations on Thursday, despite recommendations against doing so from Gov. Andy Beshear, the White House and the CDC.

"We have to take care of our friends and family, and this is how we show them we love them this year," the Lexington pediatrician said.

Dr. Hawse says she will only celebrate with her immediate family on Thanksgiving, and she won't be seeing her parents or in-laws who live nearby.

"They are at higher risk and we just don't want to take that chance that this would be our last Thanksgiving with them," she said.

She joins healthcare workers across the state who have urged Kentuckians to avoid large gatherings and travel for the holiday.

At his briefing Tuesday, Gov. Beshear shared a message from Katherine Rogers, a nurse practitioner with Norton Healthcare.

"We know this Thanksgiving will be different and we are grateful to each of you who are doing your part by thinking twice before visiting vulnerable loved ones this holiday," Rogers said.

Gov. Beshear has warned Thanksgiving gatherings could contribute to a potential healthcare worker shortage if cases continue to rise. on Tuesday, UK officials announced five operating rooms at UK Chandler Hospital would temporarily close to increase capacity for COVID-19 patients.