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Health Officials Beg Minnesota Families To 'Reconsider' Thanksgiving To Halt COVID Spread

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Minnesota's top health officials shared an urgent message with families Monday to think twice about their Thanksgiving plans.

COVID-19 nurses and doctors are asking Minnesotans to limit Thanksgiving dinners to their own households. They also ask college students to reconsider going home for the holiday.

Giving up the traditional Thanksgiving gathering is a painful proposition for many families, like the Hunters in North Branch.

"I have a big family. We're going to miss them," Brandon Hunter said. "We usually all get together."

The same goes for the Rathbuns of Ham Lake.

"Our kids, you know, grew up here in the house, and, yeah, this will be the very first Thanksgiving I think that we haven't had them here," Mike Rathbun said.

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The Hunters, Rathbuns and the Webers of South St. Paul are making these sacrifices to protect their own relatives, or because they believe it's the right thing to do for the greater good.

"We just want to be able to move beyond this, and if we can all play our part, I think it would work," Monica Weber said.

Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said Monday the rate of increase in new cases has "accelerated far beyond" some projections.

"As tempting as to just stick with our cherished traditions this year, we really need people to reconsider," Malcolm said.

Kelly Anaas, a Twin Cities ICU nurse, pleaded with Minnesota to stay home this Thanksgiving "so you don't have to ring in the New Year with me."

A national survey found nearly two in five people will likely attend large holiday gatherings.

If you do get together, it's advised you have a plan such as separate seating by household, as well as wearing masks and social distancing.

Click here for a county-by-county estimate of the chance someone at your gathering will have COVID-19.

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