Local doctor says people should quarantine, get tested after traveling for Thanksgiving

HOUSTON – As millions of Americans return home after the Thanksgiving holiday, the busiest travel day of the year, health care experts warn there will be consequences.

Dr. Joseph Varon has been working nonstop at The United Medical Hospital for 255 days. He said he and his staff are busy and tired, but they’re treating COVID-19 patients around the clock.

Now they’re getting prepared for what Thanksgiving and Black Friday could bring.

“COVID-19 still here and it’s going to stay here for a little longer,” Varon said.

It’s a never-ending story with COVID-19.

“People are dropping their guard people think COVID-19 is not here anymore,” Varon said.

Varon said people need to quarantine for five days and get tested if they traveled for Thanksgiving and were around large crowds on Black Friday.

“Because you absolutely do not know what’s going on out there,” he said.

Varon said they’ve tested over 200,000 people at United Memorial Medical Hospital and nearly 50% were asymptomatic

“So, if you visited your uncle or aunt and they look healthy that doesn’t mean they don’t have the COVID-19,” he said.

Varon was seen in a heartbreaking photo comforting a patient in the coronavirus intensive care unit on Thanksgiving is going viral.

“The man was crying so I felt so bad for him that I went and hugged him, and I was telling him to relax everything is going to be better,” he said.

Varon is urging people to do their part as cases rise across Texas and the U.S.

“You have to control yourself if not you may see images that are much worse than that picture that you saw,” he said.

Varon said his coronavirus unit is completely full, but he’s opened an additional wing at the hospital that has about 45 beds.

He said he understands people want to get out. But he reminds residents to avoid large gatherings, wear a mask and wash their hands.