As COVID-19 cases continue to increase within Fayette County, 54 as of Thursday, local public health shares the importance for all individuals to understand that regardless of safety measures taken, it is impossible to guarantee that an individual will not be exposed to COVID-19 before, during, or after community gatherings or events. Like most viruses, COVID-19 can be contracted by any person at any point traveling to, traveling from, or during the course of any gathering or event at any location.
Anthony Leo, MD, Fayette County Board of Health Physician, states, "Those hosting gatherings or events may attempt to mitigate risk, but there are many things outside the host's control. It is not possible for any individual to be completely shielded from a virus like COVID-19 when in the presence of other people."
Attendance at community gatherings or events in 2020 involves assuming substantial risk of being exposed to COVID-19 and the consequences of that exposure could include illness, hospitalization, and in rare cases, death. Attendance is an individual and voluntary choice made by an adult or the parent or legal guardian; individuals must understand and weigh the known risks versus the benefit of attending in person.
- The Centers for Disease Control classifies the following persons as being at higher risk for severe illness:
- People 65 years of age and older
- People who live in a nursing home or a long-term care facility
- People of all ages with serious underlying medical conditions or at-risk individuals, such as pregnant/breastfeeding women, racial and ethnic minority groups, people experiencing homelessness, people with disabilities or people with development/behavioral disorders.
In alignment with CDC and Iowa Department of Public Health recommendations, Pat Hunsberger, Fayette County Board of Health Chair states, "Based on this information, the Fayette County Board of Health issues the following guidance:"
- We advise anyone who has any questions concerning the risk of COVID-19 to visit the Iowa COVID-19 website, https://coronavirus.iowa.gov/.
- We advise anyone 65 years of age or older to not attend community gatherings or events at this time;
- We advise anyone of any age who has an underlying medical condition or is at risk to not attend community gatherings or events at this time;
- We advise anyone who has any concerns about becoming infected with COVID-19 to not attend community gatherings or events at this time;
- We advise anyone who is sick or who shows any symptoms of any illness to not attend community gatherings or events at this time as you may be placing other people at risk; and
- We advise that anyone voluntarily choosing to attend a community gathering or event at this time is doing so at his or her own risk.
"We understand that some people may have health concerns with attending social gatherings, and in this case, we, the Fayette County Board of Health, understand, support and encourage their decision to stay home," Hunsberger finishes.
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