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Calculate your COVID-19 risk before heading to Thanksgiving festivities

The tool helps assess a percentage of risk for the event you're thinking of attending based on its size and location.

TAMPA, Fla. — If you're still on the fence about whether or not you want to attend Thanksgiving with family or friends, there's a tool that can help you make your decision. 

Georgia Tech's "COVID-19 Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool" will help you calculate your risk based on the size and location of the gathering. 

"The risk level is the estimated chance (0-100%) that at least 1 COVID-19 positive individual will be present at an event in a county, given the size of the event," the tool reads.

You'll want to slide the bar to show the size of the event you're attending before toggling over the U.S. map to the state and county you will be visiting. Once you make your selection, the map shows you the most up-to-date risk level and vaccination rate for the area.

For example, a Thanksgiving gathering of 15 in Hillsborough County poses a 6-percent risk for chance of infection, while the same gathering in Pinellas County holds a 3-percent risk.

Credit: Georgia Tech COVID-19 Risk Assessment Planning Tool

There is an "ascertainment bias" factored in, which means the map works off the assumption there are four times more cases in a certain area than are being reported.

As of the Florida Department of Health's latest COVID-19 report, 68 percent of Floridians have been vaccinated since the shots first became available.

Dr. Michael Teng, the dean of USF's College of Internal Medicine, says the best way to be safe this holiday season is to get vaccinated.

"Now is better because that'll prepare you for Christmas," Teng said.

If you aren't vaccinated or have family and friends who aren't, Teng said the more precautionary steps you take, the better you'll be for it. 

"Spacing is important, the time you have your mask off is important," Teng explains. "The shorter you have your mask off the better. And ventilation, if you can do it outside..."

Experts expect to see another COVID-19 surge following the Thanksgiving holiday, but hope hospitalization will not be as severe given the increase in vaccinations.