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Experts urge Iowans to take caution over Thanksgiving amid high coronavirus transmission rates

Experts are urging Iowans to get vaccinated before the Thanksgiving holiday.
Experts are urging Iowans to get vaccinated before the Thanksgiving holiday.

Public health experts are saying for those planning to gather with friends and family over the Thanksgiving holiday, now is not the time to let down your guard against the coronavirus.

Dan Diekema, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, said those planning to meet up should do so in a well-ventilated space, make sure to get vaccinated and even get tested before gathering to reduce the spread of the virus.

"Some of the rapid at-home tests...can be done in 15 minutes, then all the people who are going to attend could do that the morning of an event, and that would also decrease the risk," he said.

Diekema said parents should consider getting their children vaccinated, which is important even though they’re at low risk for getting severely ill from COVID-19.

"There can be complications. There can be hospitalizations, but even more, you know, of equally or greater importance is decreasing transmission in that age group because it will help decrease the risk across the population," he said.

Diekema also recommends all adults 18 and older get a booster shot.

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention supported expanding the boosters to all adults who received the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine.

Federal officials previously approved booster shots for all three authorized vaccines for certain groups.

According to the CDC, all 99 of Iowa counties have high or substantial levels of community spread.

Natalie Krebs is IPR's Health Reporter