PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -- Medical professionals around Oregon are asking urging people again not to gather to celebrate Thanksgiving this year.
The Oregon Medical Association, Oregon Nurses Association and the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems teamed together to write a letter, warning people to celebrate safely.
“People have COVID fatigue, they want to take off their masks, they want to have those family gatherings. And that’s the worst thing you could do,” said Lynda Pond, president of the Oregon Nurses Association and a practicing nurse.
The healthcare community is begging Oregonians to take advantage of technology like Skype and FaceTime to celebrate with their loved ones.
“It’s irresponsible not to do that,” Pond said.
Healthcare professionals say hospitals are filling up quickly. They soon worry that ICUs could become overrun by COVID-19 patients.
“This actually might take the place for other ICU care, like acute heart attacks and acute strokes and what do we do with other acute illnesses that need those same ICU beds,” said Kevin Ewanchyna, president of the Oregon Medical Association.
The letter also points out the toll that this pandemic is taking on healthcare workers that are on the frontlines of this virus daily.
“We can’t get away from it. It’s on our mind front and center. We wake up thinking about coronavirus and we go to bed thinking about coronavirus,” said Ewanchyna.
The letter said it is begging Oregonians to follow public health guidelines like wearing a mask, social distancing, and not celebrating Thanksgiving with people outside your household this year. They say they don’t want this holiday to be anyone’s last.
“I go to my family gathering and my 91-year-old dad’s there and I’ve been exposed and don’t know I’m carrying the virus and I give it to my dad, I could potentially be responsible for his death. I don’t want that on my shoulders and no one else in the state should want that on their shoulders,” Pond said.
OMA says it wants to remind people that the guidelines are based in science. It says that science has changed since March, and masks and social distancing are the best guidelines for preventing the spread of COVID-19.