Mid-Michigan health officers say large gatherings linked to increased COVID cases

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – So far, 10 COVID cases are linked to last month’s Ionia free fair.

Ionia County Health Officer Ken Bowen expects that number to go up.

“We have some that directly attended the fair and some that are contacts of people who attended the fair so that’s another reason why we expect the numbers to increase as we move forward,” Bowen said.

Fair officials say between 350,000 and 400,000 people attended the 9-day event.

Another big event tied to a growing number of COVID cases is the faster horses music festival at the Michigan International Speedway.

So far, there are 66 cases, which is sounding an alarm from health officials on the link between large gatherings and COVID cases.

“We’re increasing our levels of transmission of covid right now. They’re not as low as they were a month ago. They’re not as low as they were even you know six weeks ago,” said Linda Vail, Ingham County Health Officer.

Vai said this increase does not come as a surprise to her.

“We’re doing gatherings, we’re not wearing masks. Transmission is increasing in our state and in our communities.”

Vail applauds the Chicago music festival, Lollapalooza, for requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test to attend and said she thinks other events should follow its lead.

“It’s effective in terms of preventing cases of covid and it perhaps is effective in motivating some people to get vaccinated,” Vail said.

However, Bowen does not think vaccine requirements for large events are necessary right now, but he still recommended people to get the shot.

“This is just another reminder for those folks who have been kind of debating whether or not should I should I not, please get vaccinated,” Bowen said.

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