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Take precautions for COVID-19 this Thanksgiving, health department says

The number of Arizonans admitted to the hospital recently for COVID-19 is about 30% lower than it was at this time last year,  according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But cases are on the rise in the state. 

With Thanksgiving and other holiday gatherings approaching, Dr. Kirin Raman with the Arizona Department of Health Services said Arizonans should take precautions as COVID-19 and other seasonal respiratory infections spread. 

"Staying home when you're sick from work or from school, covering your coughs and sneezes, washing your hands frequently, and disinfecting those high-touch surfaces," Raman said. 

Raman also pointed out anyone can order free COVID-19 test kits online at  COVIDtests.gov

"If they haven’t signed up using their address for this fall season, they are eligible for eight sets of tests. If they have already, then those same individuals at those addresses can get another four sets to make sure that they have enough ahead of this holiday season," Raman said. 

Raman said the best way to protect yourself and those around you this holiday season is to get an updated COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccine providers nationwide are listed at  vaccines.gov

Katherine Davis-Young is a senior field correspondent. She has produced work for NPR, New England Public Radio, Southern California Public Radio, PRI's The World, Washington Post, Reuters and more.She has a master’s degree in radio journalism from the USC Annenberg School of Journalism.She lives in central Phoenix with her husband, two daughters, and ill-behaved cat and dog. Her side-passions include photography, crosswords and hot sauce.