Allegheny County Health Department Director Dr. Debra Bogen enacted a stay-at-home public health advisory Wednesday.By Lindsay Ward

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – We’re a week away from Thanksgiving — a major holiday where families typically gather together and share food and conversations.

But because of the continual surge in coronavirus cases, the Allegheny County Health Department is telling people to cancel their Thanksgiving plans with family.

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“I’m also advising residents to cancel their traditional Thanksgiving celebrations that may involve members of other households, and instead celebrate virtually. Avoid traveling and limit social gatherings like parties, dinners, barbecues and other events,” Health Department Director Dr. Debra Bogen said Wednesday while announcing a stay-at-home advisory.

The CDC is now also urging Americans not to travel during the Thanksgiving holiday.

It’s a tough decision for many. People tell KDKA they look forward to the holiday that’s known for bringing people together. But because of the virus, they say sacrifices have to be made so others are safe.

“We haven’t seen our in-laws since last Christmas. So it’s been a long time, we miss them very much,” said Alyson Cunningham.

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Cunningham lives in Mt. Washington and says she won’t be seeing her extended family this Thanksgiving, “who are elderly and a little sick. So we’d like to keep them in mind in making those decisions because we don’t want to put them at risk. It’s selfish.”

“I mean it’s all nice and dandy until there’s an empty seat next year that was supposed to have a grandmother or an uncle,” said Veronica Werner.

Veronica Werner tells KDKA she too will forgo seeing her family. She actually decided that weeks ago, prior to the Allegheny County Health Department’s announcement Wednesday. A stay-at-home advisory was issued. That includes not leaving the house unless it’s for essential reasons.

“You know, not going anywhere. Just stay at home. It’s the safest thing to do,” said Werner.

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It’s that advice health experts hope more will follow. They say gatherings and parties are to blame for the rise in cases. County leaders say if the situation gets worse in Allegheny, then they will issue a public health order.