Missouri hospital just hit its all-time high for Covid cases. But the county fair that attracts thousands won't be canceled

A resident of Springfield, Missouri, since 2005 and the proprietor of a neighborhood brewery, Tignor mentioned nothing might “drag her there” this 12 months, despite the fact that she’s totally vaccinated.

“As you’re sitting in a crowd, six out of the 10 people around you probably haven’t been vaccinated,” Tignor instructed NCS. “And that just seems like a risk that I’m not willing to take.”

Springfield, the place the Ozark Empire Fair will be held July 29 to Aug. 7, is in Greene County, certainly one of the state’s Covid hotspots.

Mercy Hospital in Springfield recorded 148 optimistic Covid-19 instances as of Thursday, an all-time high, mentioned Sonya Kullmann, spokesperson for the hospital. Greene County at present has 4,663 energetic instances as of Friday morning, in accordance with its web site.

The uptick in instances is brought on by the fast-spreading Delta variant; 95% of these instances have been in unvaccinated individuals, Kullmann mentioned.
Greene County, with a completed vaccination rate of about 35%, has declared a local emergency. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson despatched further life help ambulances and medical employees to the space in preparation of rising cases.
But the fair, which is able to characteristic meals, a Ferris wheel and an unique petting zoo — marketed on its website as “summer’s biggest party” — won’t be canceled.

“Amusements around the country go on every day with way bigger attendance, in a lot more confined space than what we offer,” Aaron Owen, common supervisor of the fair, instructed NCS. “I’ve worried about it all, I know (the Delta variant) is real. But farmers and agriculture folks put their livelihood at stake on this. There’s lots of factors that we have to take into consideration.”

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The fair’s planning committee, separate from metropolis and county management, plans to have Covid-19 precautions in place, Owen mentioned. These embrace social distancing and hand washing stations all through the park.

He mentioned individuals won’t be required to put on face masks, although the fair website had outdated Covid-19 steerage with masks mandates that are now not in place. The web page was final up to date in April.

Owen mentioned he bought 70,000 tickets in 2020 and says he believes that there was no proof of Covid unfold, primarily based on conversations he had with some distributors after the fair. More distributors will be in attendance this 12 months than final.

Loverboy, a Canadian rock band initially scheduled to play at the fair, has canceled its look due to Canadian journey restrictions, according to KYTV.
In the meantime, the metropolis of Springfield has canceled its personal annual occasion, the Birthplace of Route 66 festival. Cora Scott, the metropolis’s public data director and an organizer of the pageant, mentioned anticipated attendance would have surpassed 65,000 individuals, with a parade that would have celebrated the efforts of healthcare staff throughout the pandemic.

“The Delta variant has basically knocked us on our heels,” Scott mentioned. “I was disappointed that our community was not at a point with vaccinations that we could have this celebration.”

In the coming week, Mercy Hospital’s information staff initiatives optimistic instances will rise to round 190, Kullmann mentioned. The hospital has transformed six items into Covid-19 care items, she mentioned.

Missouri becomes hot spot for Delta variant fueling hospitalizations while vaccination efforts lagMissouri becomes hot spot for Delta variant fueling hospitalizations while vaccination efforts lag

“We’re stretched at this point,” Kullmann mentioned.

Dr. Alex Hover, president of the Missouri State Medical Association, mentioned he credit Springfield for canceling the Route 66 pageant, and as a resident of Springfield, he won’t be attending the Ozark Empire Fair.

“Hearing from the physicians on (hospital) staff, it’s a great strain and the hospitals are certainly at maximum capacity,” Hover mentioned. “If the fair goes on and people are going to attend, we would strongly urge that they mask and try to adhere to social distancing as much as possible.”

Nick Palmer lives in adjoining Lawrence County and has a number of persistent diseases that put him at extreme danger from Covid-19. Palmer mentioned he is nervous about the fair’s impacts on hospitals and the availability of beds for individuals who do not have Covid.

“It reminds me of the movie ‘Jaws,’ when the mayor’s like, ‘The beaches will be open,'” Palmer mentioned. “The priorities are messed up. They’re more worried about keeping the fair going than about what will happen to the people that go there.”