By Jim Williams

CHICAGO (CBS) — Want to know your risk of coronavirus exposure? Especially as we approach Thanksgiving?

There are some new tools including an interactive online map. But they come with a caution. CBS 2’s Jim Williams reports on how it all works.

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The map is easy to use and has some helpful information on COVID but the map creators are quick to say it has limitations.

Whether at the airport, or the grocery store or a small family dinner, we ask ourselves: How many people there have the coronavirus?

“I’m one of the creators of the map.”

The online map created by Professor Clio Andris and her colleagues at Georgia Tech University offers some guidance.

“When you click the county, it will tell you the probability that one or more people at that event are infected with COVID-19.”

You pick the number of people at a gathering and the location. Let’s say you’re planning to be among 50 people in Santa Barbara County, California. The map shows a 21% chance someone there will have COVID.

Or closer to home, at a gathering of only 15 people in Cook County, the percentage is 47%.

Professor Andris wants to make one thing clear: The map does not show your probability of getting COVID in any of the groups.

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“It doesn’t say something like there’s a 50% chance that if you go to this event, you’ll be infected with COVID-19. It doesn’t work like that,” Andris said. “It’s up to you to maintain social distance, to use a mask, to not have prolonged conversations, to try to be outdoors, if possible, to help prohibit that transmission.”

“I think it’s helpful to see which parts of the country are experiencing surges, but I would take it with a grain of salt,” said Doctor Sajal Tanna.

Infectious disease doctor Sajal Tanna of Northwestern Memorial Hospital urged us to keep our guard up everywhere.

“I think that if you’re asking yourself, is this a risky thing for me to do, you should probably err on the side of safety and just opt out.”

The map is but one tool to calculate the risk.

“To help make better decisions, and to be more cautious about the transmission of COVID-19,” Andris said.

There are other online tools, including apps, that help you calculate different COVID risk scenarios.

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