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Recommendations from health experts to avoid COVID-19 in crowded places

Although there was a slight decrease in COVID-19 cases, public health officials are reminding community members to practice precautionary measures especially if attending the Mid State Fair.
Posted at 6:56 PM, Jul 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-20 22:33:47-04

The return of big events is bringing back a sense of normalcy this summer.

“We’re going to see the Journey concert,” said David Eckstrom, who attended the California Mid-State Fair in Paso Robles on Wednesday with his partner of 20 years. “I’ve been a fan of Journey since high school.”

He added, “We want to have fun, and you can take precautions, and you can stay safe.”

Despite all the excitement, health experts say it's not the time to forget about COVID-19.

“We remain in an unstable time with COVID-19 right now,” explained Tom Cuddy, San Luis Obispo County Public Health Public Information Officer. “Our numbers remain higher than we’d like to see.”

SLO County saw a slight decrease in cases Wednesday compared to last week. The public health department reported 422 new COVID-19 infections, bringing the 14-day average to 93 cases, down from 98 last week. However, that is not counting rapid or at-home tests.

“With cases climbing, they're underreported to a degree since the community who are now being treated are self-testing and not reporting all cases, so most likely, it is much more extensive in the community,” said Dr. Stephen Sigmund, Twin Cities Community Hospital Hospitalist.

Partly to blame is the new variant which is finding a way to spread despite vaccinations and disease immunity.

“This new variant, that is the BA.5, which is probably the majority of the cases in our area currently, is at this point much more spreadable,” said Dr. Sigmund. “It is highly more contagious than the last variant; however, the severity of illness has decreased. We’d like to continue with controlling the amount of people that become severely ill.”

One way to help is practicing COVID-19 safety measures.

“Masking up in large crowds, masking up when you’re indoors, washing your hands. If you’re sick, not going out,” suggested Dr. Sigmund.

Especially not going to the fair, if you are feeling sick.

“Wear a mask, ideally a KN95 mask in crowded, indoor spaces such as exhibit halls or restrooms, regularly wash your hands throughout your visit to the Mid-State Fair, always wash your hands after petting animals or touching areas where animals are housed,” recommended Cuddy.

It is not just COVID-19 you want to be cautious of since temperatures are expected in the triple digits.

“Check the weather ahead of your visit and dress for conditions such as wearing light weight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing,” added Cuddy. “Lastly, stay hydrated with water.”

Health experts recommend those who test positive for COVID-19 check in with their doctor to see if they are eligible for treatment.

Just a reminder, both the San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara County public health departments have Test to Treat sites available for the community to use. They do ask that you make an appointment ahead of time.

For information on COVID-19 resources in San Luis Obispo County, click here.

For information on COVID-19 resources in Santa Barbara County, click here.