Waterbury doctor warns about COVID-19 and Thanksgiving

New Haven

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — Dr. Peter Jacoby is Chairman of the Emergency Department at St. Mary’s Hospital. He looks forward to Thanksgiving every year. Not this year.

He and his family usually have about seventeen guests over for the big day, but this time during the pandemic he says, “no way”.

“I am worried as people are going to get together with loved ones, parents, significant others, family members, that we could be a real super spreader for COVID-19,” he said.

And he spent part of his morning meeting with News 8 to get his message out.

“And especially if you look at a Thanksgiving holiday,” he said. “You have intergenerational families getting together in small spaces, more than likely not wearing their masks, certainly not around the Thanksgiving table, and potentially becoming a super spreader everywhere.”

Waterbury’s Director of Emergency Management recently told News 8 that the city’s contact tracers have determined many of the city’s recent uptick in cases can be attributed back to family members infecting each other because of people not wearing masks or social distancing.

“It seems to be more based on a familial relationship — intergenerational living,” said Adam Rinko, Waterbury’s Director of Emergency Management. “It’s a single-point, person-to-person spread from one infected individual to the next infected individual where masks or social distancing were either not possible or not followed.”

That was one factor prompting Dr. Jacoby to speak out to News 8. He suggests limiting your holiday gathering to your immediate family cohort and make sure everyone is wearing a facemask as much as possible.

Waterbury has been hit with the pain of family members catching COVID from each other. That’s what happened to two members of Grace Baptist Church. An elderly mother and her adult daughter, who lived together, both caught COVID-19 and died.

News 8 speaking to a member of that church community today who says the loss of his friends was painful and one of the reasons he’s choosing to listen to Dr. Jacoby’s warning.

“This virus has hit and it’s staying everyday,” said Scott Riddick of Waterbury. “And if people don’t recognize to stay home and be safe and do the right thing, then you’re going to get hit.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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