Officials: More than 20 people with COVID attended the WA State Fair
Almost two weeks after the start of the Washington State Fair, there are a number of COVID-19 contact tracing investigations involving fair trade workers and local people who attended the event.
Karen Irwin, COVID-19 communications manager for the Tacoma-Pierce County Department of Health, told the News Tribune in response to questions Thursday: “We are investigating more than 20 cases among residents of Pierce County who attended or worked at the fair during their contagion. or period of exposure.
Asked about the background, Nigel Turner, director of the department’s communicable disease division, told the News Tribune in a statement: “One case of COVID-19 is too many. This virus is a preventable disease, and yet we are still seeing high cases in our community. We appreciate the many steps our show partners are taking to reduce the risk to visitors and workers, but the vaccine remains our best shield against the transmission and serious consequences of COVID. “
Turner also noted, “So far, more than 235 vaccines have been administered at the fair.”
The county this week reached 50 percent of its total population being fully immunized. This compares to 56.3% of the state’s total population fully vaccinated.
Dr.Anthony Chen, director of the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, issued a health order before the opening of the fair requiring the wearing of masks by all fair attendees both indoors and outdoors, regardless of vaccination status.
The state has since made outdoor masking mandatory in crowds of 500 or more, regardless of vaccination status.
County and fair officials announced plans to distribute vaccines as part of the operation’s mitigation efforts, as well as on-site medical testing and treatment to help avoid sending unsuccessful medical incidents. COVID at local hospitals.
Prior to opening on September 3, the annual statewide event was a point of contention among hospital officials, who called events such as the fair a “very bad idea” in the middle. The current tide of COVID-19 cases in Pierce County and the state against a backdrop of Washington hospitals has stretched.
As of Sunday, 1,388 new cases have been reported in Pierce County. From September 5 to 11, 2,862 cases were reported.
The highly contagious Delta variant has led to hospital overloads and staffing shortages across the region, and Idaho on Thursday said it had met crisis care standards to ration care at its hospitals.
King County health officials on Thursday announced a new health ordinance due October 25, requiring proof of vaccination or a negative test to be able to dine inside, see a movie in a theater, or do exercise in a gymnasium in this county.
When asked if Pierce County health officials are considering a similar rule, Irwin told the News Tribune: “Pierce County health officials are exploring many strategies to encourage more people to do so. vaccinate so we can end the pandemic. “
The state fair does not ask guests for proof of vaccination.
Kejuan Woods, deputy incident commander for COVID-19 response, told the county health board during its study session on Wednesday, “We continue to work with fair management on a weekly basis. They were very responsive to feedback from the community and the health service, and we also have a team delivering vaccines to two locations, six days a week. “
A statewide tally of cases so far involving those who attended or worked at the fair was not available from the state Department of Health on Thursday, and a DOH representative referred to the TPCHD for case information. Irwin with TPCHD pointed out that his numbers only represented Pierce County cases.
The current attendance figures were not communicated by the show on Thursday. It typically attracts around a million attendees each year. The fair was canceled in 2020 in response to the pandemic.
Stacy Van Horne, public relations manager for the show, told the News Tribune: “For many years now, we have not provided a daily presence; we give the total amount at the end of the fair.
The fair ends on September 26.
Editor Angelica Relente contributed to this report.