Online Tool Helps Assess COVID Risk at Holiday Gatherings
Wednesday, November 25, 2020
SALT LAKE CITY - Public health officials continue to discourage large gatherings for this Thanksgiving, but it's hard to tell how big is too big.
If you're planning to host or attend a holiday event, how do you evaluate the risk of acquiring or spreading COVID-19?
Scientists at Georgia Tech University have developed an Event Risk Assessment Tool to calculate the probability that someone with the virus might show up at your dinner table.
Utah State Epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn said the tool is available online and can estimate risk with just a couple of mouse clicks.
"For example," said Dunn, "if you live in Salt Lake County and you have 15 people coming over for Thanksgiving, there's over a 50% chance that one of those individuals will have COVID. Which then, of course, magnifies the ability for COVID to spread beyond that group of 15 and into the community."
Dunn said the tool uses current data from each county, the number of people at the event and the current rate of infection.
Officials warn while such a tool can be helpful, people should still observe standard pandemic precautions - wear a mask, wash your hands, and keep a social distance.
The advice comes amid reports that 26 of the state's 29 counties are considered "high-transmission areas," and Utah's positive test rate is at a seven day average of 23.6%. Officials recommend - but do not require - Utahns to limit group gatherings to only the people living in their home.
Dunn said anyone considering a larger get-together should, at the very least, know the risk.
"I really encourage individuals, if you're thinking about going to an event or having an event at your home for the holidays, looking at that tool," said Dunn. "Using it for how many people are going to be at your event, what county you live in. And it'll help you understand that risk of somebody having COVID at that event."
Other online sources of data for holiday decision-making include a slightly different COVID risk tool developed by the Alpert Medical School at Brown University, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's COVID Data Tracker.
get more stories like this via email
DENVER - On Wednesday, leaders from Colorado's 13 community colleges joined a national effort to help more of the state's adults get credentials and …
LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- Today, a virtual summit hosted by the Las Vegas Mayor's Faith Initiative looks at the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous …
HOUSTON -- Many U.S. communities with bustling downtowns were better prepared to weather economic fallout from the pandemic, thanks to a decades-old …
MILWAUKEE, Wis. -- A Wisconsin group that advocates for working families is launching a new campaign, which connects federal policy to the …
SEATTLE - Constructive conversations online can seem few and far between. Research from the University of Washington explores how the design of …
Health and Wellness
WATERLOO, Iowa -- Advocates for Iowans with disabilities are sounding the alarm over what they describe as a caregiver crisis, pleading with …
BRAINERD, Minn. - Minnesota boat owners are storing their watercraft for the winter. But that isn't stopping the conversation about responsible water …
BOISE, Idaho - Millions of members around the world, including some Idahoans, are observing International Credit Union Day today. This year marks 73…