3 Ways to Help Patients Understand the Thanksgiving Guidance Gobbledygook

There has been much public discussion of safety practices and precautions for the upcoming holiday. Because the rate of COVID-19 transmission varies significantly by location, some nationally promulgated guidance may seem to contradict local recommendations to patients. Here are a few ways physicians and their practices can help patients to navigate the holidays safely.

1. Emphasize Local Guidance First

Variance in transmission and test positivity rates are not always easy for patients to understand. When discussing guidance and holiday decision making, emphasize the importance of our local Montgomery County holiday guidance first, followed by Maryland’s, which includes interstate travel restrictions.

2. Remind Patients of the Limitations of a Negative COVID-19 Test

On social media, many community members have expressed their intent to have a COVID-19 test before their family gathering, with no intention to otherwise quarantine. Remind patients that they may test negative immediately before developing symptoms and that they may expose themselves to the virus while grocery shopping, fueling their vehicle, and running other errands.

3. Share Reliable Sources of Information with Patients

The CDC has issued recommendations for how to celebrate safely, as has Montgomery County DHHS. The American Academy of Pediatrics has also issued helpful tips for celebrating, with an emphasis on keeping the holidays happy for children.
As always, a physician’s direct recommendation to a patient carries greater weight than distant mandates. Considering sending emails, posting to your website, and on social media with the CDC’s helpful open-source flyers, infographics, and social media messages: Celebrate Safely Flyer, Consider Other Activities Flyer, Social Media Templates & Graphics.