County Officials Provide COVID updates and Thanksgiving Holiday Recommendations.
Written by Kristen Schmutz
Belden Communications News
The Volusia County Government held a press conference Friday that relayed information on recommendations for family gatherings this holiday season while providing COVID updates for the County.
Dr. Joe Smith, Chief Medical Director of Advent Health in DeLand, along with Holly Smith Government Liaison from the Florida Department of Health in Volusia County, is encouraging residents to continue mitigation efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 this holiday season.
“Instead of planning to attend family holiday gatherings, families should celebrate at home with the people in your household,” Holly Smith said.
"Inconvenience this year can help others for years to come."
Current CDC regulations for Thanksgiving encourage people who gather together that are from different households to celebrate outside, maintain 6-foot distances, use proper hand hygiene, and allow only one person to serve food.
“We are not seeing a significant increase in critically ill patients in Volusia County,” Joe Smith from Advent Health said. “But we want to use this information to prove that what we are doing is working.”
According to Kevin Captain, Director of Community Information, the free testing site run by the State, has been approved to run through the end of January. The site located off Live Oak Boulevard will be closed Thursday, November 26, for Thanksgiving, December 24 and 25 for Christmas, and December 31 for New Year’s Eve.
The testing site offers self-swab, rapid antigen, and PCR testing.
Officials are hopeful that the next coming weeks will be forthcoming with the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines. Volusia County Health Department has planned for the arrival of the vaccines since the summer, and distribution of the vaccine will be done in a phased approach beginning with Hospitals, Long Term Care Facilities, and High-Risk Groups.
Advent Health has been chosen as one of the first five facilities to receive the vaccine and will have the ability to store and handle whichever vaccine that they will receive (Pfizer or Moderna).
Advent Health has a vaccine trial and is looking for people to volunteer. For those interested, please call 1-877-VirusHQ.