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'Hopefully People Will Realize It's Not Over': Doctors Urge Caution for Indoor And Holiday Gatherings Amid Pandemic

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Cold temperatures are forcing people indoors, and doctors say both vaccinated and non-vaccinated people should remain alert when it comes to COVID-19 and other winter viruses.

The fall foliage and cold breeze are in full force, but the most exciting part of it all lies ahead.

"We're gonna make our trip to see the grandparents in Ireland for Thanksgiving, and then we'll be here with family for Christmas," said Biz McShane Murphy.

Dropping temperatures and holiday get-togethers are reasons to meet indoors, but it could also be a cause for concern amid a pandemic.

The Minnesota Department of Health's most recent data says the seven-day positivity rate is about 8%. With more indoor gatherings, Allina Health infectious disease specialist Dr. Frank Rhame says that number could go up.

"Hopefully people will realize it's still not over," Rhame said. "Vaccinated people, even boosted vaccinated people, can get COVID."

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(credit: CBS)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 vaccines help keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do get COVID-19.

Dr. Rhame says it's not just COVID-19 you need to worry about during holiday gatherings. He says there's pent up vulnerability when it comes to influenza because there were so few cases last year.

"For the influenza part, the thing that scares us is that it's gonna stress our ICUs all the more," Rhame said.

He says RSV is high among kids right now. He suggests having ventilation during indoor gathers, which means opening up windows and blowing fans. He says the less the people, the better.

Emma Froseth says it's all about learning how to be creative during the holiday season.

"We did do a lot of like outdoor stuff in the winter where we have like a little heater, and we would sit outside and do like dinner that way and not go in the house," Froseth said.

MDH says 70% of Minnesotans have gotten all their COVID-19 shots.

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