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Hospitals urge restraint with holiday gatherings

Posted at 9:57 PM, Nov 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-25 07:41:56-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The three major hospitals in Corpus Christi all predict a spike in COVID-19 cases just before Christmas, but they say how people celebrate Thanksgiving will determine how big the spike is.

“We’re going to have significant issues by the middle of December with hospital capacity -- and personnel potentially -- if everybody treats Thanksgiving as normal," Driscoll Children's Hospital Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President Dr. Mary Dale Peterson said. "And we just don’t want that to happen.”

Peterson was joined at a press conference at the Nueces County Medical Society Tuesday by representatives from Christus Spohn and Corpus Christi Medical Center.

The three hospitals had the same message -- Thanksgiving gatherings should be limited to the people who live in your home.

“I think it’s just best to avoid contact with people who you haven’t seen for awhile, because you really don’t know whether they’re (COVID-19) positive," CCMC Chief Medical Officer Eric Deppert said.

“The risk isn’t just to you and your family," Christus Spohn President and Chief Medical Officer Osbert Blow said. "The risk is to the entire community."

The hospital leaders cited data produced by Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi researchers.

The data indicates that if people host their normal Thanksgiving gatherings, local hospitals could end up with 600 or more COVID-19 patients at one time.

It could also raise the COVID-19 death rate to 15 or more people a day.

The hospitals say, by restricting holiday gatherings to immediate family members, those numbers will be considerably lower, and doctors and nurses won't be overwhelmed.

“We won’t run out of people on the front lines to take care of you if you do your part,” Peterson said.