(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) The uptick in COVID-19 cases is making it harder for many to plan their Thanksgiving.
We spoke to the local health department to find out how you can stay safe and still get together with family and friends.
The local health department urges COVID-19 shots and other precautions ahead of the upcoming holidays.
"We are seeing more cases and our positivity rate is up as well,” Debra Bradley, St. Joseph Health Department. Director said.
Across the country states are seeing upticks in COVID-19 cases and are worried Thanksgiving get-togethers may further the spread.
"The state health department has identified Buchanan County as a hotspot for new COVID cases so going into the holidays already identified as a hotspot is not a very good thing,” Bradley said.
That's why local, state, and federal health officials are recommending COVID-19 booster shots for all adults and for unvaccinated kids and adults to get the shots.
"When I was looking at the cases earlier there were a lot of young adults contracting the virus so it's equally important for young and older to get the vaccine,” Bradley said.
Since it typically takes about two weeks for the vaccine shot to reach its full strength, the health department says go ahead and get the shots for the holiday season.
"If you got it today you're probably not going to have a whole lot of protection however, you may. Your body may just respond quicker than someone else's so it's not going to hurt to go ahead and get it now but it definitely will help as other holidays, and other gatherings and events are coming up, it definitely will help by then,” Bradley said.
Don't forget to use the other A-B-Cs of COVID prevention to help minimize the risk.
Stay home if you're sick or have any covid symptoms, wear a mask.
"Just in case you develop the disease then you're not going to be spreading it as well to your family and friends as you're gathering for celebration this weekend,” Bradley said.
Spread out as much as you can.
"I'm not sure what the weather is going to be like but if you can go outside or even open windows,” Bradley said.
The state overall positivity rate has increased to 9.3 percent.
However, it's far lower than November 2020 when the state positivity rate reached 23.1 percent.