Doctor warns community about holiday COVID-19 transmission

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Posted at 5:22 PM, Nov 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-02 21:09:18-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — For many families, the holidays will look different during a global pandemic as doctors urge people to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

On November 2nd, the free COVID-19 testing site outside Nissan Stadium was busy. However, if people are worried about exposure from trick-or-treating, they're probably getting tested too early.
"Typically, the onset of symptoms would be within a few days, probably the average would be 5 to 7 days for someone who was exposed," Dr. Juli Horton said.

Dr. Horton is an infectious disease specialist at TriStar Centennial Medical Center. She worries the hospital will be slammed in December after Thanksgiving. "Oftentimes it’s not the next week, it’s weeks later as maybe the chain of transmission continues."

She said masking and social distancing is the best way to slow the spread. Unfortunately, you can't wear a mask while eating Thanksgiving supper. "My concerns are, I think we all let our guard down a little bit when we’re around people that we know well," Dr. Horton said.

Dr. Horton said she has two college kids coming home soon, so they're playing it safe. Her in-laws don't plan on coming over unless they can space tables out throughout the yard. "I’m keeping my fingers crossed for good weather."

Having an asymptomatic person at a social gathering is a worst-case scenario. Dr. Horton said.

"I would really encourage people to think hard about who they’re going to be around. Everybody wants to see their family and their friends at the holidays. But really consider, not only their personal safety, but your family members, and your co-workers," Dr. Horton explained.

The free COVID-19 testing sites in Nashville outside the old K-mart, Meharry Medical College, and Nissan Stadium will be closed on Election Day.