OhioHealth medical expert urges toned-down Thanksgiving celebration, even with negative COVID-19 result


COLUMBUS (WCMH) – With Thanksgiving just days away, doctors are once again reminding people that celebrating with other households is not the safest option this year.

Health experts want people to understand that just because they have a negative COVID-19 test result does not mean they can celebrate the holiday as they normally would.

There are other steps to be taken as well.

On Saturday, there was a testing site in Hillard, with care lined up before the event started. Last week, there was a three-hour wait to get tested at a site in west Columbus.

Dr. Joseph Gastaldo, an infectious disease expert with OhioHealth, is concerned that some people might be getting tested, then using a negative result as a pass to celebrate Thanksgiving like any other year.

“Testing is something people can use, but there’s a lot of limitations to it, and people really need to understand the limitations of testing,” he said.

According to Dr. Gastaldo, one limitation is there can be false negatives at the time of the test if the level of the virus is too low. The other is the test is only a reading at that moment in time so people need to strictly quarantine too.

“If you do get tested before going somewhere, assuming your test is negative, you really have to protect yourself, cocoon yourself, shelter yourself,” he said. 

He also wants to remind people that testing needs to be done in addition to mask wearing and physical distancing.

Still, he says the safest way to celebrate is with those living in the same household.

“I’m very concerned that potentially there could be many super spreader events that happen throughout our country just because people are going to be celebrating thanksgiving with people outside of their household,” he said. 

Coronavirus in Ohio resources:

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