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Thinking about getting the family together for Thanksgiving? Here's the risk someone will have COVID-19

What kind of risk does getting together pose to your family and loved ones, even if you are following safety protocols like wearing a mask? This tool shows you.

With Thanksgiving and other holidays rapidly approaching, many are beginning to wonder what a safe holiday gathering would look like for their family and friends. 

While experts say the safest thing to do is stay home and hold a virtual event, some people will inevitably want to celebrate together in person. 

If people do end up being together in person, it's important to closely follow health guidelines. The includes quarantining for 14 days before gathering, requiring everyone wear a mask, and meeting outside versus indoors.

But what kind of risk does merely getting together pose to your family and loved ones?

RELATED: 'Don't gather family for Thanksgiving,' urge daughters who lost mother to COVID-19

A tool developed by Georgia Tech earlier this year allows people to look up their risk of encountering someone who has COVID-19 at events, based on their county of residence.

The interactive map allows users to choose a county anywhere in the United States and event size (anywhere from 10 people to 10,000) to calculate the risk that at least one COVID-19 positive person will be present.

For an event with 50 people:

In Tarrant County, the current risk level is 75%, while Dallas County events with 50 people have a 74% chance at least one person is infected, as of Thursday, Nov. 12. In other words, an event with 50 people has a 3 in 4 chance someone tests positive.

In the surrounding counties, including Collin, Denton, Ellis, Johnson, Kaufman, Parker, Rockwall, and Wise, the number is near 50%.

How does that change when you down to 25 people? Well, the risk level does decrease, but is still high. 

For an event with 25 people:

In Tarrant County, guests would have a 50% chance at least one person was infected with COVID-19. Dallas County is hovering right at the same mark at 49%.

In the surrounding counties, including Collin, Denton, Ellis, Johnson, Kaufman, Parker, Rockwall, and Wise, the risk of someone testing positive is around a 1 in 3 chance.  

When you bring that number down to 10 people, the lowest number on the tool's scale, you see the risk lessens somewhat.

For an event with 10 people:

The risk for events with 10 people is lower across North Texas, but it very much so still exists.

People in Dallas and Tarrant counties both have about a 1 in 4 chance one of the 10 people at an event tests positive. 

The surrounding counties maintain their lower risk percentage, with Collin, Denton, Ellis, Johnson, Kaufman, Parker, Rockwall, and Wise all having between a 12 to 14% chance someone is COVID-19 positive.

The interactive map is based on data from The COVID Tracking Project at The Atlantic and the NYTimes COVID-19 data project, which pulls daily data on COVID-19 testing and patients from all 50 states. It's also based on 2019 U.S. Census data. 

The risk assessment tool was developed by researchers at Georgia Tech's Institute of Technology, Biological Sciences (GT-BIOS) and the Applied Bioinformatics Laboratory (ABiL).

Check out the COVID-19 Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool here.

Holiday guidance from North Texas counties

Dallas County recommendations

Dallas County officials are recommending having a virtual Thanksgiving.

If you really want to get together, quarantine for 14 days. You have to start by November 12.

Limit the number of people in the kitchen and consider having only one person serve the meal to avoid sharing serving utensils

Move the festivities outside and spread out.

Most importantly wear masks and wash your hands.

Tarrant County recommendations

Tarrant County officials suggest limiting indoor Thanksgiving gatherings to just 6 people this year.

The county recommends outdoor gatherings that should not exceed 10 people.

They also recommend a virtual Thanksgiving with extended family.

Denton County recommendations

Denton County did not make its own recommendations, but encouraged residents to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control. 

That guidance includes limiting the number of guests as much as possible, hosting outside instead of inside, and requiring people to wear masks. 

RELATED: Full guidance from the CDC

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