Tulare County Fair to go on despite growing COVID case rate

Tulare County Fair states they will take proper precautions to help limit COVID-19 by handing out masks, offering testing

TULARE – COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents in Tulare County have risen above the peak of last summer’s surge. On July 22, 2020 the county’s case rate was 42.7. As of Aug. 31 of this year it is 47.7. But that is not scaring off the Tulare County Fair.

The fair announced last week that their Sept. 15 through Sept. 19 extravaganza will go on only slightly encumbered. They will still deliver fun, food and great rides, but add important health measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Last year at the same time, cases per 100,000 residents were in the teens, and the entire fair was forced to operate as a drive through. This year the case rate is more than triple that of last September. But fair officials are banking on the fact that the fair is held outdoors, and they are encouraging people to take appropriate precautions at home.

“Most of our activities are outside and therefore well ventilated,” Dena Rizzardo, CEO of the fair, stated via press release. “And overall, we are doing our part to provide a safe family environment. We recommend that families do a health check at home to be sure they are healthy prior to coming to the fair. If you aren’t feeling well, please stay home.”

As recommended by the state of California, fairgoers are encouraged to be tested and vaccinated and to attend the Fair if they are feeling well and healthy. COVID testing is available on the fairgrounds in Building 1. Free masks will be provided at each gate. Hand sanitizers and hand washing stations will be available throughout the fairgrounds for an additional level of protection.

The Bud Light Stage will be the center of attention for music lovers, as the fair welcomes a Country Artists Tribute Show (Tributes to Eric Church, Thomas Rhett and Carrie Underwood) on Wednesday, Sept. 15, at 7:30 p.m.

Journey Revisited performs on Thursday, Sept. 16, at 8 p.m., and Friday, Sept. 17, features Earth to Mars, a tribute to Bruno Mars at 9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18 features an Atomic Punks van Halen Tribute. The final day of the fair features a Karla Perez Tribute to Selena at 8 p.m.

All Bud Light Stage entertainment is free with paid Fair admission.

The Stone Chevrolet Buick GMC Stage will offer sword swallowing, magic, hypnosis and more, throughout the five days of the fair.

The Tulare County Fair Family Stage will feature the Kiddle Karoo Barnyard Show, ventriloquist Vikki Gasko Green and more.

Fair admission and grandstand event tickets are on sale, and the annual opening day fair parade is back, thanks to the Tulare Kiwanis Club. Another special event, the Quilts of Honor ceremony on opening day, recognizes and honors veterans for their service to our country. The form to nominate a veteran is available online or by calling 686-4707 for more details. For information on the Tulare County Fair, visit www.tcfair.org or call 686-4707.

The Tulare County Fair will carry on as planning for 2021. Cases per 100,000 people in the county is more than triple than it was a year ago when the fair was forced to host a drive through event, but this year the fair will be in person, albeit with some precautions.File photo.
By the numbers

Another 700 plus new cases cropped up in Tulare County last week, driving the total number of cases in the county from 2,589 to 3,292. As of Labor Day there were 178 COVID-19 hospitalizations, which is 12 more than last week’s 166.

Tulare County’s test positivity rate has also been steadily rising. As of Sept. 2 the seven-day average positivity rate in the county was 10.5%. Testing per day has reached December 2020 and January 2021 type levels. As of Aug. 30 there were 4,100 COVID-19 tests administered. And in total, 61,652 tests were administered in August.

Still one of the most disheartening metrics in Tulare County is the vaccination rate. Less than half of the eligible population who can receive the vaccine are fully vaccinated at 45.4%. Although an encouraging silver lining is that 8.8% of the same population are partially vaccinated. If that percentage of people go through with their second dose, over 54% of the eligible population will be vaccinated.

In terms of total population, only 37.1% of the county’s residents have been fully vaccinated. Another 7.2% are partially vaccinated. That leaves a total 55.7% completely unvaccinated against COVID-19. As children return to school in person, cases are rising among youth age zero to 18 years. According to Tulare County Health and Human Services director, Tim Lutz, 5- to 11-year-olds are the main drivers of COVID-19 cases in the zero to 18 age range. Unfortunately those are also the children who are not yet eligible to receive the vaccine at all.

Delta is dangerous

The county made an effort to notify residents celebrating Labor Day to take reasonable precautions. They noted in a press release last week that the latest results of genomic sequencing from the Tulare County Public Health Laboratory suggest that nearly all COVID-19 cases in this area are due to the highly infectious delta variant. With the delta variant being more contagious and spreading rapidly in Tulare County, it is very important for all individuals to wear a face covering when indoors in public buildings or businesses and when outdoors in crowds.

They added that masking is required for all unvaccinated individuals, and vaccinated individuals are strongly advised to wear a face covering due to the high degree of infectiousness caused by the delta variant.

County health officials continued to push that vaccinations are the best and safest way to get out of the pandemic.

“It is imperative for everyone to get vaccinated as soon as possible to decrease the spread of this highly infectious delta variant and stall any potential for other COVID-19 variants to mutate and develop in our community,” said Tulare County public health officer Dr. Karen Haught. “COVID-19 hospitalizations have drastically increased, our local hospitals are at full capacity, health care workers are significantly strained, and medical resources are limited. We all must do our part to decrease the spread of COVID-19 by getting vaccinated and following public health guidelines.”

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