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Alabama is seeing a surge in the number of daily COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths. With Alabama’s seven day average of new cases increasing 13% over the last seven days, health officials urge people to use precaution this Thanksgiving.

UAB Doctor Jeanne Marrazzo says this will be the first holiday season we are experiencing in the midst of a pandemic and the safest thing people can do is avoid gathering in groups with people they haven’t been in regular contact with.

“Everybody is desperate to see their families, everybody is desperate to get out of their houses and to celebrate and this represents a really big concern,” says Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo.

Marrazzo says its important to realize that traveling to spend time with family or friends can pose a risk in both directions.

“You may unknowingly bring asymptomatic infection home and you may acquire infection when you’re there then bring it back. its an incredibly communicable infection,” says Dr.Marrazzo.

Dr. Marrazzo says alot of people think they can just get tested before attending a gathering and be safe, but that’s not the case.

“Remember a negative test even if its a PCR test which is the most sensitive test only tells you at that very moment that you are not infectious. You can still be infected and not turn PCR positive for up to two days,” says Dr.Marrazzo.

And because of that delay, Marrazzo says people should be particularly careful.

“If you get a test and you’re negative know that it doesn’t give you a passport to be sure that you’re not going to infect anybody else its reassuring but not definitive and certainly isn’t something that can take you out of quarantine if you’ve been quarantine because you’ve been exposed to the virus,” says Dr.Marrazzo.