TWIN FALLS — Today being October 1, people are gearing up for popular fall events and attractions going on throughout this month. However, some of these events are raising eyebrows amongst officials.
Several of these events have the potential to draw large crowds, and over the next couple of weeks, there are multiple festivities planned throughout the Magic Valley. Health officials are expressing some concern with the possibility of COVID-19 outbreaks.
The first major event is taking place this weekend, Oktoberfest in Twin Falls, and the popular Trailing of the Sheep event in Ketchum starts next Wednesday and spans until Sunday.
Officials from the South Central Public Health District are well aware that people will attend these events no matter what. The health district is encouraging those individuals who choose to go to participate in the safest way possible.
“It’s really important that you make sure that that event has plenty of space for social distancing," said Brianna Bodily, the spokesperson for the South Central Public Health District. "That people are going to be wearing masks. Preferably it’s outdoors; if it’s not outdoors and it has to be indoors, make sure that it’s a place that is really well ventilated.”
While some people will likely practice some safety precautions, others will not, and the main concern is that, if an outbreak were to occur, how it could impact not just the Magic Valley, but the entire state.
“It will likely only propel further the surge we are experiencing," said Bodily. "Already our hospitals are overwhelmed, our public health efforts are overwhelmed, already our testing supplies are running low.”
The Health District has acknowledged that people will make their own choices for what they feel is best for their health. Yet, officials hope that residents do try to be as responsible as they can to not prolong this COVID-19 surge.
“It’s really hard to continue to sacrifice something that we enjoy," said Bodily. Even for safety reasons because we have been doing it for so long, and it quite frankly is a drag. But the reality of it is, we're not going to get out of this pandemic until we all make those choices that will help slow the spread of COVID-19.”