LA County health director: Limit Thanksgiving dinner to one household or consider connecting virtually

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Stepping up warnings about the continuing surge in COVID-19 cases, Los Angeles County's public health director said residents should celebrate Thanksgiving only with members of their own household, even if they plan to hold their holiday dinner outdoors.

The county, based on previous guidance regarding public gatherings, had earlier stated that residents could celebrate the holiday with members of up to two other households, as long as the dinner was held outdoors with physical distancing and face coverings.

But Barbara Ferrer clamped down on that Monday, saying the current surge of virus cases in the county and across the country makes it much safer to restrict holiday get-togethers to one household.

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Mayor Eric Garcetti warned if the current pace of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continues, there will not be enough hospital beds by Christmastime.

"As cases continue to increase rapidly across the United States and here in our county, the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to celebrate at home with the people you live with,'' Ferrer said. "Given the huge surge in cases across the country this past week, we strongly recommend that you only celebrate the holiday with people from your household and that you not gather at all with people from outside your household to eat this meal, even if you're outdoors.''

The county has warned repeatedly against public and private gatherings, blaming them for driving the current surge in local case numbers. The county's general guidance on gatherings allows them to be held outdoors with masks and distancing, as long as they involve no more than three households and no more than 15 people.

But health officials continue to warn against gatherings of any kind.

"Gathering with people you do not live with can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19,'' Ferrer said. "Please do your very best to connect virtually with friends and family members you don't live with.''

This comes as Los Angeles County is once again breaking its own record for the highest number of new coronavirus cases reported in a day.

The county reported 6,124 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, breaking a previous record of just over 5,000 that was set last week.

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With new restaurant restrictions set to take effect this week, Los Angeles County is once again breaking its own record for the highest number of new coronavirus cases reported in a day.

City News Service contributed to this report.
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