An alarming increase in the number of positive COVID-19 cases has many Hoosier families facing tough decisions about holiday gatherings. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, the Indiana State Department of Health, and the Hamilton County Health Department recommend celebrating Thanksgiving with only immediate family; but for those who choose to gather despite the warnings, Trinity Free Clinic in Carmel is providing free COVID-19 testing on Monday, Nov. 23 from 7 a.m. until 7:45 p.m. They call it the “Test Before Turkey.”
“The best thing you can do is avoid group gatherings for Thanksgiving this year,” said Mel Wischmeyer, Trinity Free Clinic Executive Director. “But if you do choose to gather, everyone should get tested, then commit to quarantining until the big day to avoid bringing the virus to grandma and grandpa’s house. That’s not a perfect solution, but it does provide some peace of mind. Nothing is 100-percet protective except isolation."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the lowest-risk Thanksgiving plans include celebrating only with those who already live in your home or hosting a virtual dinner with friends and family. Returning college students who live away from home should not be considered part of the household. Upon their return, everyone in the household should wear masks when together and avoid contact with those outside their homes for 14 days.
Medical Operations Director Cindy Love offers these tips to increase safety for those who do choose to host Thanksgiving this year:
If possible, eat on the patio or deck, even if you have to wear a jacket.
Open windows wherever possible.
Wear masks until mealtime and maintain social distancing of six feet
Be vigilant about hand washing.
Avoid sharing serving utensils; consider pre-plating meals
“While we are happy to provide pre-Thanksgiving testing, it’s important to remember that a negative result is only negative for that day,” said Love. “Everyone should remain cautious and careful not to spread the virus to help prevent an empty chair at next year’s Thanksgiving table.”
Although walk-ins will be accepted, the clinic recommends booking appointments for COVID testing in advance. Trinity Free Clinic is located at 1045 W. 146th Street, Carmel, IN. To register for free COVID testing at Trinity Free Clinic or anywhere in the State of Indiana, visit https://scheduling.coronavirus.in.gov/.