Freeborn County Fair goes on despite CDC warning of high Covid risk

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(ABC 6 News) – Wednesday was the second day of the Freeborn County Fair and because of the large turnout, some health experts are concerned about Covid-19 virus transmission at the fair.

The fair was packed all day Wednesday and you likely won’t find anyone wearing a mask. Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control marked Freeborn County as a high-risk community for Covid transmission. The CDC recommends masking in indoor or crowded spaces.

Despite the warnings, the fair is going on as planned, even as cases in the county continue rising.

"It’s concerning bringing all these people together – even in an outdoor setting – that Covid numbers could go up more than they already have been. Over the last two weeks, our numbers have increased significantly," Freeborn County Public Health Director Sue Yost said.

Yost said two weeks ago, the county had less than ten cases, and as of Wednesday, it had 44 positive Covid cases, putting the county in the high-risk category.

"According to the CDC data tracker, Freeborn County is in the red zone for transmission of Covid. That means we’re at a high level," Yost said.

Despite the warnings from health experts, fairgoers said they were not too concerned.

"We chose not to go to the large gatherings where there are a lot of people together. We’re visiting more one-on-one with people," Thelda Haack, a fairgoer, said.

The county is offering free Covid vaccinations to fairgoers this year.

"Freeborn County Public Health is going to do free Covid vaccines here all week in their booth from 4:30 to 7:30 if you’re 18 or older. That’s free. They have Moderna or Johnson and Johnson as well," fair manager Mike Woitas said.

Yost said on the first day of the fair, they vaccinated four people.

"We’re hoping for more today, but four is better than zero. That’s four more people that will be protected," Yost said.

Woitas said the fair is taking some precautions to protect the public.

"It’s common sense. People are allowed if they want to wear a mask. We’ve got several hands sanitizing stations. We have all kinds of protocols in place for Covid-19," Woitas said.

"Please come out and get your vaccine. And have a snow cone while you’re at it," Yost said.

You don’t need to bring anything to get your vaccine at the fair. The county has a private room where you can get your shot underneath the grandstand.

The fair is open until Sunday.