GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) — According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), the Upstate is one of the largest hotspots for new coronavirus cases; now, doctors are urging residents to celebrate winter holidays safely.

Bon Secours St. Francis’ Dr. Coben Thorn told 7News his emergency room is currently feeling the effects of Thanksgiving gatherings.

“Just talking to people, a lot of people said that they were around family members who later tested positive, and then we’re testing them after the fact,” he said. “We definitely have to be careful this holiday season with the upcoming Christmas time.”

Although he acknowledges the importance of seeing family around the winter holidays, Thorn recommends taking the safe approach to gatherings: Avoid large ones and socially distance and mask up for others.

He said he and other doctors are nervous about the possibility of Carolinians not following best practices over the next month.

“The worst case is the volumes overwhelm the hospitals and you run out of beds, is what we fear,” he said. “We have the ability to expand some and the ability to control some aspects of it, but obviously we want to keep numbers down so that we don’t overrun our healthcare systems.”