PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) – On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its holiday guidance, noting the virus crisis is worsening and that small household gatherings are “an important contributor.” The CDC said older adults and others at heightened risk of severe illness should avoid gathering with people outside their households.

Experts point to Canada, where Thanksgiving was celebrated Oct. 12. Clusters of cases tied to family gatherings followed. “This sucks. It really, really does,” Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said two weeks later.

Celebrating virtually or with members of your own household are two options that pose the lowest risk for spread, the CDC says.

Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine has called on Pennsylvanians to rethink the holidays and opt instead for virtual celebrations.

“Unfortunately, in this time of a global pandemic such as COVID-19, as we approach the holidays, we need to rethink those gatherings. We need to think about more and more gatherings being virtual or only staying with your family that you live with, that you’re exposed to all the time,” Dr. Levine said two weeks ago.

“I think that’s a sacrifice, but I think that sacrifice can mean that people don’t get sick in your family and in your community and it would be worth it. And even though that’s a really challenging concept, that’s what’s being recommended by the CDC, and that’s what we’re recommending as well, that people plan for the holidays.”

The CDC’s updated guidance comes as Allegheny County reported over 300 new coronavirus cases Tuesday, with the health department saying many people reported going to gatherings like Halloween parties and there’s indication of “significant” community spread.

You can read the CDC’s Thanksgiving guidelines — including considerations for hosting or attending gatherings — online.

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