NJ health authorities urge families to limit Thanksgiving celebrations

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — New Jersey health authorities are urging families to limit their Thanksgiving celebrations to prevent the current surge in coronavirus cases from getting worse.

Gov. Phil Murphy reported 48 more COVID-19 deaths Tuesday, the most in a single day since July.

“We are in the thick of the COVID second wave,” Murphy said. “There’s no doubt about that.”

New Jersey’s total COVID-19 death toll now stands at 15,007.

Camden County is seeing a second surge with 5,000 new cases this month — more than June, July and August combined.

At a coronavirus briefing, Freeholder Jonathan Young said there are three ways the virus is primarily spreading right now: within households, at workplaces, and small gatherings held indoors.

“We cannot afford to have every household in the county hosting a small gathering for Thanksgiving,” Young said. “This would drive a new wave of viral transmission that will put thousands of lives at risk.”

Rianna DeLuca, an investigator with the Camden County Health Department, said there are steps dinner hosts can take to reduce the risk of the virus spreading.

“You can have dinner outside,” DeLuca said. “Really space apart — you don't have to sit at the table together. You can spread apart. Wear your mask when you're not eating.”

Murphy, at an unrelated bill signing, urged residents to confine their dinners to their immediate family bubble.

“Don’t be multigenerational. This is not the year to have grandma and grandpa over,” he said.

Murphy said if residents can make sacrifices to control the spread of the virus this year, it would be a “down payment” on a more normal Thanksgiving next year.​