By Jesse Sarles

(CBS4) – It’s not the recommended route to take, but Gov. Jared Polis says if you have plans to gather indoors with other family members or friends outside of your immediate family on Thanksgiving day, particularly if that group includes older relatives, now is the time to start quarantining in preparation for it. Polis used very foreboding language on Friday when describing the risk Coloradans might be taking if they don’t take this drastic measure.

“If you plan on seeing relatives from other households for Thanksgiving you should self-quarantine and avoid the risk of infecting yourself today so you’re not unwittingly bringing that in and losing a loved one — a family member who only wants to celebrate Thanksgiving with you. And that’s a very important caution for people not to play Russian roulette over Thanksgiving,” he said in a COVID-19 news conference. “You wouldn’t do it with a gun and you shouldn’t do it with the virus.”

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Polis laid out the current number of people infected — about 1 in 110 Coloradans contagious with coronavirus statewide, with more troubling numbers in some areas (1 in 58 in Adams County, 1 in 64 in Denver) — and then stated that “if you have a Thanksgiving group of 10 folks … coming in, that means you have about a 1 in 11 chance of somebody being contagious with COVID in that group.”

A Denver man wears a face mask on Nov. 3, 2020 in Colorado.

(credit: CHET STRANGE/AFP via Getty Images)

Polis said the likelihood that coronavirus would spread in a normal Thanksgiving setting is very high without everyone, or most everyone at that table having done a two-week quarantine.

“In a typical Thanksgiving dinner that would very likely spread from one person to eight or nine or 10 out of 11, I mean this is indoor, intimate contact around a table so if one person has it you’re all going to have it,” he said.

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Polis said he personally plans to keep his holiday plans to just in-person interaction with his nuclear family. Despite the fact that he would “love” to spend the day with his parents, they will only communicate virtually. Polis said his mother has pre-existing respiratory conditions that make her part of a high-risk group for COVID-19.

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The governor appeared to momentarily get choked up while speaking in his news conference about the health risks an intergenerational Thanksgiving gathering poses, and he brought up the Russian roulette analogy again.

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“The more family members that make that decision to self quarantine, the more likely it is that you’re not bringing a loaded pistol for grandma’s head. And that’s where we are,” he said.

Jesse Sarles