Philadelphia health officials warn of potential COVID-19 wave as Thanksgiving nears

The highest number of cases is among 10- to 19-year-olds who remain unvaccinated.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphia health officials warn that given the sharp uptick in COVID-19 cases, we could be on the verge of another wave. That also means holding onto masks a bit longer.

As some finalize shopping for their Thanksgiving feasts, many are also making arrangements to renew what has felt like a lost tradition during the pandemic: family gatherings.

"Especially after COVID because we just lost so much time with each other," said Center City resident Leila Torres.

Philadelphia health officials while not discouraging gatherings this year, especially among the fully vaccinated, do warn cases over the last two weeks have seen an alarming rise.

The highest number of cases is among 10- to 19-year-olds who remain unvaccinated.

"This is worrisome for teens, but it's especially worrisome for the adults who may be about to gather with family for Thanksgiving," said Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole.

The Action News Data Team found COVID cases have been on the rise over the last two weeks across the tri-state area.

Pennsylvania is seeing the highest case increase at 27%, followed by New Jersey at 23%. Delaware saw a 12% increase.

The increase may not be not enough to completely derail holiday plans for some, but it still concerning enough to continue taking precautions.

"I keep my mask on and I keep my distance. I'm vaccinated, getting ready to get a booster," said one resident.

The Action News Data Team also found that across the tri-state between 10 to 15% of those fully vaccinated have received booster doses. That percentage is a bit higher among those 65 and older.

"Yes. We are all fully vaccinated and happy to be together," said resident Sandy Josephs.

Health officials are hopeful that as vaccination rates for children improve, so will a decrease in cases as we head into the new year.

"We have control of what happens next," Bettigole said.

Bettilgole said some Thanksgiving best practices may include smaller gatherings or outdoor gatherings.

She also suggested rapid testing a day before and day of, just as a precaution.
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