Coping with COVID-19 During the Holidays
November 20, 2020
Don’t cancel Thanksgiving. Do cancel your dinner plans.

By: Dr. Robert Citronberg, Executive Medical Director of Infectious Disease and Prevention for Advocate Aurora Health

As of today, more than 11 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the U.S. It took only six days to add the last 1 million cases.
These numbers were not even imaginable just a few weeks ago.

So, what went wrong?

Almost everything.

We were lulled into complacency over the summer, when warm, humid weather promoted outdoor gatherings in a climate less favorable for transmission of the virus. As a result, we let down our guard. Lower rates of transmission over the summer created a false impression that COVID-19 was gone. So now that the weather is cooler and drier (conditions that allow for more efficient transmission of the virus), and gatherings have moved back indoors, the perfect storm has been created that has facilitated the current surge in the pandemic.

Helping Children Focus on the Positive

This holiday season is going to look a bit different for everyone. Children may have trouble understanding and coping with these changes. Dr. Gabrielle Roberts (right), a pediatric psychologist at Advocate Aurora Health, explains how parents can put “currency” back in their child’s emotional piggy bank.

Learn more by watching this video.

Find a pediatric provider in Illinois and Wisconsin.
Resources from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Celebrating Thanksgiving
As cases continue to increase rapidly across the United States, the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to celebrate at home with the people you live with. Gatherings with family and friends who do not live with you can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu.

Read more about travel considerations, how to make Thanksgiving safer, and precautions to take when attending or hosting a gathering.
Holiday Celebrations and Small Gatherings
This holiday season, consider how your holiday plans can be modified to reduce the spread of COVID-19 to keep your friends, families, and communities healthy and safe.

CDC offers the following considerations to slow the spread of COVID-19 during small gatherings. These considerations are meant to supplement—not replace—any state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations with which all gatherings must comply.

Download this CDC flyer on how to stay safe during the holidays.
Planning Your Holidays During the COVID-19 Pandemic

By: Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health

With the holiday season fast approaching and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) surging in most parts of the country, millions of Americans—including me and my family—will break with tradition this year to celebrate in ways that we hope will help to keep us all safe and healthy. Granted, this may present some difficult emotional and logistical challenges, but I’m confident that the American can-do spirit will rise to meet those challenges.

I also recognize that this will be hard for many of us. Celebrating holidays alone or with your immediate household members can sound rather dreary. After all, who wants to roast and carve a turkey for just a few people? But, if you look at it another way, the pandemic does offer opportunities to make this holiday a season to remember in new and different ways.

Continue reading for ideas on sending gifts, making videos, sharing a meal remotely, staying safe and more.
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Advocate Aurora Health Events
Wednesday, Dec. 2, 1:00- 2:00 p.m.

From cancer screening and awareness, to personal experiences with diagnosis and treatment, to navigating the health care system and coping with cancer during a pandemic.

This webinar will focus on:

  • Access to cancer screening through Aurora Family Service’s Wisconsin Well Woman Program – Social Work Navigation
  • Cancer Survivorship
  • COVID-19 cancer screening safety measures and the importance of cancer care screening
  • Self-Care and mindfulness

Faith leaders, congregation members, community members, caregivers and those impacted by cancer during the pandemic are encouraged to register for this free event.

Dec. 8, 10:00 a.m.

All faith leaders are invited to a virtual clergy conversation on social isolation of older adults. The webinar will include information on:

  • what social isolation is and how it differs from loneliness, 
  • the types of things faith communities are doing to help combat social isolation in older adults,
  • available resources for individuals and organizations that serve older adults. 

  • Wednesdays, through Dec. 30
  • 6:00-7:00 p.m.

“What’s Next?” is a weekly resilience program that combines evidence-based scientific studies with encouragement from faith-based resources. Participants will gain tools to:

  • build resilience amid the difficulties of life
  • learn from their experiences
  • use the knowledge they gain to nourish themselves and the world around them

Attend any or all sessions. LaShondria Purnell, RN, a faith community nurse with Advocate Aurora Health, facilitates "What's Next?" and looks forward to learning alongside you.
Tuesdays from 8:30-9:00 a.m.
Thursdays from 6:00-6:30 p.m.

The Prayer Support Line allows us to come together in unity to release our burdens, receive comfort and express our gratitude to God for holding us close during this pandemic. The Prayer Support Line is a place where we can join with others in prayer for health, healing and spiritual care with the expectation that God will meet us and provide us with encouragement.
Events from our Partners
Dec. 3, 7:00 PM - 8:30 p.m.

Sponsored by the Interfaith Mental Health Coalition South Suburban Mental Health Cluster.

A workshop designed for all who are dealing with pandemic stress as well as those supporting them, including parents and guardians, community leaders, educators, and faith leaders of all religious faiths.

HIV/AIDS Clergy and Lay Leadership Virtual Summit 2020

Dec. 5, 10:00 a.m. - noon

More information to come!
Dec. 10, 9:00 a.m.

Sponsored by The Lutheran Foundation and RemedyLIVE

The holidays can be a stressful and emotionally challenging time of year for many people in a "normal year," and this holiday season will bring its unique set of stresses and feelings of anxiety, loss and grief due to the current pandemic.

This webinar will explore some holiday challenges, emphasize the importance of acknowledging and legitimizing our feelings, help participants recognize some signs and symptoms of emotional struggle, and offer practical coping strategies, including self-care and self-compassion tips.
Dec. 10 1:00 p.m.

Financial exploitation and fraudulent scams aimed at older adults result in the loss of billions of dollars every year. These crimes often go unreported because victims are scared, embarrassed, or don’t know who to call. The U.S. Department of Justice National Elder Fraud Hotline, managed by the Office for Victims of Crime, provides services to adults aged 60 and older who experience fraud and exploitation to help them report the crime and access appropriate resources. This webinar will offer an overview of the National Elder Fraud Hotline and answer frequently asked questions about the available services.
Dec. 15, 7:00 p.m.

Sponsored by the Archdiocesan Commission on Mental Illness

This year, probably all of our Christmas celebrations will be different than in years past. All are invited to join us for a virtual hour of prayer & reflection in preparation for Christmas. We are especially reaching out to anyone living with a mental health concern and their loved ones.
Exploring Grief Groups
Lake Forest, Ill.
7:00-8:30 p.m. on Mondays through Nov. 30

North Shore, Ill.
7:00-8:30 p.m. on Thursdays through Dec. 10

Are you or someone you know grieving the loss of a family member, partner, or friend? If so, find comfort and support in free virtual Exploring Grief Groups. The groups provide a confidential, educational and nonjudgmental environment. They encourage attendees to cope with their loss and continue to find meaning in their lives. These groups are facilitated by professional counselors.

To register for Lake Forest group, contact Denise Kitanovski at 847-446-6955, ext. 22 or

To register for North Shore group, contact Joellen at 847-446-6955, ext. 19 or

  • Tuesdays through Jan. 12, 2021
  • 7:00-9:00 p.m.

Sponsored by Grace Lutheran Church, River Forest, Ill.

GriefShare is a special weekly seminar and support group designed to help you rebuild your life after losing a loved one. Our group is led by caring people who have experienced grief and want to help you through the difficult days ahead.

To register, call 708-366-6900 or email
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