Despite surge of COVID-19 cases, Iowa State Fair organizers are confident in holding safe event

Iowa News

DES MOINES, Iowa (WHO) — This week the Iowa State Fair has updated its coronavirus guidelines. 

Despite COVID-19 cases steadily increasing and the Iowa State Fair attracting upwards of one million visitors, organizers are still confident they will have a safe event.

“We’re comfortable with conducting the Iowa State Fair and as close to normal as we can be with an eye safety protocol, and making sure that we’re increasing those hand sanitizers, hand washing stations, and janitorial things to make people feel comfortable,” CEO of the Iowa State Fair, Gary Slater said. 

Iowa State Fair is asking people to follow CDC guidelines, which include wearing a mask indoors or in public areas of high transmission(vaccinated or not), frequently washing and sanitizing your hands, and staying home if you feel sick.

These recommendations are also echoed by local hospitals. 

UnityPoint Health said their COVID-19 hospitalizations have jumped from single to double digits within the last few weeks made up mostly of unvaccinated patients.

Medical Director of UnityPoint Health’s Adult Emergency Departments, Clint Hawthorne, said he expects this number to grow with Iowa students returning to school this month and people attending larger events. 

However, Hawthorne said he wouldn’t be so quick to write off the fair as a super spreader.

“I would say overall, the likelihood of that type of event is less when you have someone or numerous people in the group who are vaccinated,” Hawthorne said.  “The likelihood of a super spreader event is certainly less than it was in our general population if you look at 12 months ago when we didn’t have anybody who was vaccinated.”

Hy-Vee will be providing vaccines at the Iowa State Fair. According to the CDC, it takes two weeks for the vaccine to become effective. Hawthorne encourages fairgoers to get the vaccine as soon as possible. 

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