Health officials recommend stay-at-home Thanksgiving

By on November 20, 2020

In the wake of CDC recommendations that people avoid travel and celebrate Thanksgiving with those they live with, state and local health officials offered similar holiday advice with COVID-19 cases spiking almost everywhere in North Carolina and around the country.

On the day that the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) reported 3,688 new cases and the highest number of COVID ICU patients (415) since the outset of the pandemic, NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen cited the CDC’s recommendations against travel.

NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen.

“Ideally, we would be having Thanksgiving just with the folks we live with in our home,” said Cohen at a Nov. 20 briefing. But acknowledging the holiday tradition of celebrating with loved ones, she offered advice for those planning to gather with others besides those under their own roof.

Those recommendations are: Keep the gathering small; hold the event outdoors even if it means warmer clothing and fire pits; wear a mask all the time; and consider getting a COVID-19 test before attending any celebration. As a personal note, Cohen said that this would be the first Thanksgiving when she won’t be traveling to celebrate with her family.


Dare County

The Dare County Department of Health and Human Services (DCDHHS) reported 12 new cases of COVID-19 on Nov. 20, with 10 of them affecting residents of the county and two involving not-residents. On Nov. 20, the DCDHHS also issued an update that mirrored Cohen’s advice about Thanksgiving.

“The best way to reduce your risk of viral transmission is to limit travel during the holidays and limit physical contact with people who do not live in your household,” it said.

“If you are traveling and/or are planning to be with family members you do not live with during the holidays, consider having a COVID-19 screening test prior to travel or attending family gatherings. Be sure to get tested early enough to allow for your results to come in prior to the gathering,” the update continued. “Even if you have a negative test, you should wear a mask, physically distance, avoid crowds and indoor crowded places, wash your hands frequently, monitor yourself for symptoms, and minimize contact with people at high risk of complications of COVID-19.”

Concerns about spreading COVID during Thanksgiving are even affecting the marketing of the OBX as a holiday destination. Promotional materials from the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau sent out before the CDC recommendations touted the area as a place to gather “the entire gang” for Thanksgiving.

But in response to a Voice question about that message, Visitors Bureau Executive Director Lee Nettles emailed that, “The CDC’s announcement, while sudden, makes a lot of sense and we certainly want everyone to be safe, too. Because our promotions were developed and scheduled in advance of the announcement, unfortunately, the email launched before we realized the conflicting message. Our agencies have been notified to pull any and all further Thanksgiving messaging.”


Statewide NC coronavirus numbers on Nov. 20

Link to COVID-19 North Carolina Dashboard
  • Total reported NC cases – 328,846
  • New cases reported today – 3,688
  • Reported deaths – 4,979
  • Currently hospitalized – 1,571
  • Suspected COVID-19 cases hospitalized in past 24 hours – 284 (down 18 since yesterday)
  • Confirmed COVID-19 case hospitalized in past 24 hours – 221 (up 23 from yesterday)
  • Adults in ICU with COVID-19 – 415 (up 20 from yesterday)
  • Patients presumed to be recovered – 276,132   
  • Reported cases in Dare, Currituck and Hyde Counties – 1,439 (Dare 957, Currituck 301, Hyde 181)
  • Completed tests – 4,819,029
  • Daily percent positive tests – 8.3%

Note: Every morning, the NC Department of Health and Human Services posts updates the number of reported cases of coronavirus. That number reflects positive results from all tests, including the NC State Laboratory of Public Health and all hospital and commercial labs. There may be other reports, from the media and elsewhere, that will include different numbers during a given day, but this is an effective way of tracking numbers from the same source on a day-to-day basis.



On 5/27/2010 Edge Spectrum, Inc was granted a license by the FCC to serve the public interest in BUXTON, NC as a public trustee of WHOB-LD until 12/1/2020 when it expires. WHOB-LD Channel 50 filed an FCC renewal application for our 2.5 kW station transmitting from BUXTON, NC and serving the BUXTON area on 8/3/2020. Individuals who wish to advise the FCC of facts relating to our renewal application and to whether this station has operated in the public interest should file comments and petitions with the FCC. Information about the FCC broadcast license renewal process is available from the FCC, Washington, DC 20554.



  • Lou Briccant

    Yes Government overlords, we shall do as you command.

    Saturday, Nov 21 @ 2:45 pm
  • Zack Bass

    It is time for all the Outlanders to leave the Outer Banks. We have had enough of you. Vacation time is over. Go home. We would like to deal with this Pandemic by ourselves. Spend your Holidays where you come from. We who make your leisure time here possible would like some time for ourselves. Thank you.

    Saturday, Nov 21 @ 8:00 pm
  • Louise

    I couldn’t agree with you more Zack Bass.

    Sunday, Nov 22 @ 12:33 pm
  • Nc mom

    The “outlander” aren’t the problem its the locals who refuse to wear a mask or stay home when they have the virus. Your anger is misplaced sadly.

    Until we had this surge in cases I thought our locals cared about each other but there seems to be quite a number of them that only care about themselves and what they want.

    Sunday, Nov 22 @ 2:55 pm
  • Tri-Village

    Zack Bass you are 100% right. I don’t care if people comment back to argue with you. Their opinions matter not. My parents that live in Maryland now are not coming home for thanksgiving . reason being my mother works for Anne Arundel hospital. Their state officials recommended no one should travel due to the current infection rate in Maryland. Other states are encouraging the same. But oh no, people can not handle that. Drive around . look at all of the out of state tags here for the holiday week. I would like to personally thank each and everyone of them for being a selfish prick. Also get ready to wipe with rags again. The people here last week loaded up on paper products before leaving to go back to the state they should have never left. So , thanks again for abusing this place and crapping on the residents. We greatly appreciate it. Thanks for coming down and littering, thanks for coming and not wearing masks, thanks for coming and still cramming 30 people in a house even though the rates are a fraction of what they should be this time of year but mainly thank you tourists for being you. I have known 99% of y’all have sucked for years. Now everyone knows.

    Sunday, Nov 22 @ 5:56 pm
  • Lou Briccant

    Get over yourself Zack, welcome to the US of A where we at least for a little longer are a free people. Don’t live in a historically touristic location if you can’t deal with dreaded “outsider’s.”

    Also the pandemic excuse has gotten old, come up with something new.

    Sunday, Nov 22 @ 7:01 pm
  • Yili

    So why would reasonably intelligent people with long term community interest including economic- like out tourists boards, BOC, rental companies need the CDC or other ‘government’ agency tell them what to do- seems people are using gov and this freedom BS as a scapegoat for greed and lack of common sense-
    The guidelines everyone is whining about have been a standard since Hippocrates

    Maybe better people volunteer for tutoring safe learning pods for kids, help brainstorm new business models, attract other than tourism economic drivers- going “back” to normal is not a successful Darwinian mindset, survival including lifestyle is adaptation to change
    Maybe better for OBX we step up and help steer the change for greater good not sell interest and name calling

    Monday, Nov 23 @ 8:44 am
  • hugo north

    Lock your doors…The Boogeyman might be in your neighborhood…
    To all the liberals who want freedom for every sort of fetish imaginable- you are terrified of a virus that 99.6%(at least) of its victims survive. You should be more afraid of what you cultivate with all your acceptance.

    Monday, Nov 23 @ 11:12 am
  • Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice

    You math is a bit off Hugo.

    Monday, Nov 23 @ 1:07 pm
  • NC Beachy

    Other tourist areas have also been experiencing problems with the visitors. Lake Tahoe had an influx of visitors and with them came a surge in vandalism and littering. The locals even held several rallies holding up signs that read “tourists go away”. That makes it sound like we dont like or appreciate our visitors. That is not the case, we know we live in an area that depends on tourism for money. But it seems like a lot of the people that came here were very different this year. There is an attitude of disrespect for the people that live here. We would just like a kinder gentler tourist again, some respect for the people and the area.

    Monday, Nov 23 @ 12:51 pm
  • Yili

    Although most people know viruses are a form of nature and do not care if their hosts are liberal, republicans, trumpsters, democrats, etc
    But now Hugo’s comment has me curious-

    I thought conservatives were/are pro-life
    Did I miss something all these years and the platform is only pro a specific percentage of life?

    Monday, Nov 23 @ 1:49 pm
  • Steve

    We need to evacuate non-residents

    Monday, Nov 23 @ 6:20 pm
  • anotherobxman

    It is truly a shame that people are so selfish that they will not give up a turkey dinner to save lives. Sadly, this is the real state of the US of A.

    Tuesday, Nov 24 @ 7:39 pm