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Mercy Health: It's Time to Rethink Thanksgiving
By West Kentucky Star Staff
PADUCAH - As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, Mercy Health Lourdes Hospital is asking local residents to take extra precautions this Thanksgiving to help avoid spreading the virus.

In a statement released Monday morning, Hospital President Mike Yungmann and Chief Clinical Officer Jenny Franke implored everyone to "rethink" their holiday plans before gathering together. They said the idea of social bubbles has given people a false sense of security, and public health officials fear the increase in cases will continue to be a significant issue due to asymptomatic spread among family members.

Yungmann and Frank noted that Canada has seen a spike in cases after the nation celebrated their Thanksgiving holiday, which took place in October. They warned against "COVID fatigue," and urged people to take steps including to avoid large gatherings, wear masks and wash your hands.

"Imagine the loved ones you’d have around your Thanksgiving table. Which one of them is dispensable? Who are you willing to live without? No one, right? Let’s all rethink our Thanksgiving plans to ensure we put the safety of our families first as an act of love and gratitude for everyone we care about," they said.

The Purchase District Health Department reported 1912 total virus cases in McCracken County as of Sunday, with 691 of those currently active, and 123 newly reported over the weekend.


Here is the hospital's full statement:

It’s time to rethink Thanksgiving

We’ve heard it time and time again – we need to mask, maintain social distance, wash our hands and avoid large gatherings -- but as evidenced by our ever-growing case numbers, COVID-19 fatigue has set in across our community.

Even though hundreds of thousands of people across the country who have died from COVID-19 will never get married, see their children graduate from college or hold their grandchildren, we’ve become numb to the numbers and other global news has replaced the urgency of this pandemic.

The idea of social bubbles has given us a false sense of security. And the size of our bubbles has grown as people become fatigued by the sacrifices COVID-19 has forced us to make. The reality is that it’s almost impossible to keep most bubbles pure. People often come into close contact with those who are COVID-19 positive but asymptomatic, which is one way COVID-19 spreads from bubble to bubble and across entire communities. This is the reality right now in our community, as our public health officials have confirmed, and we fear it will continue to be a significant issue as we plan for the holidays.

We need to act now and take new, bold steps to save lives right here in our community. It’s time to rethink Thanksgiving. Consider a smaller gathering with your immediate household. Consider gathering outside if the weather permits. 

We’ve seen the damage COVID-19 can cause as we gather together, and Canada provides a cautionary tale. COVID-19 case counts are climbing across Canada, even in areas under new restrictions. Canadian officials point to the Thanksgiving holiday, which took place on the second Monday of October, as the reason for the spike.

Now imagine the loved ones you’d have around your Thanksgiving table. Which one of them is dispensable? Who are you willing to live without? No one, right? Let’s all rethink our Thanksgiving plans to ensure we put the safety of our families first as an act of love and gratitude for everyone we care about. We must also continue to wear our masks and practice all the tried and true safety measures we know to be effective in stopping the spread of COVID-19. If not for ourselves, then for the sake of those we love.

The time to make a change is now. 


Mike Yungmann                         
President, Mercy Health – Lourdes Hospital


Dr. Jenny Franke
Chief Clinical Officer, Mercy Health – Lourdes Hospital 

Published 10:38 AM, Monday Nov. 16, 2020
Updated 12:23 PM, Tuesday Nov. 17, 2020

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