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Clark County Public Health recommends canceling large gatherings

Clark County Public Health recommended canceling all large gatherings in a news release Thursday afternoon.

The recommendation applies to all gatherings of 250 people or more, in an effort to minimize the potential health impacts of COVID-19.  The recommendation was made out of “an abundance of caution,” according to the news release.

“We’re making these recommendations in an effort to help slow the spread of the virus in our community,” said Clark County Public Health Officer Dr. Alan Melnick. “By slowing the spread of the virus, we can protect those in our community who are at risk for severe illness and lessen the impact to our health care system.”

The recommendation includes spontaneous gatherings of 250 people or more, including concerts, festivals, conferences, conventions, worship services, sporting events and other similar events or activities, according to the news release. The recommendations do not apply to school attendance, businesses, grocery and retail stores.

Clark County Public Health is still not recommending or requiring schools closures, in part because children are not at high risk for serious illness from the virus, and because many families rely on services from schools. Public Health said it doesn’t want to disrupt school districts unless there are known COVID-19 exposure risks.

“The potential benefits gained by reducing the possibility of COVID-19 transmission in the school must be weighed against these impacts,” the news release said.

There is still no evidence of widespread transmission, Melnick said. Clark County has one confirmed case, 13 negative tests and 10 pending tests, but the one case has no recent travel history, which indicates the virus is circulating in the community.

Governor Jay Inslee has banned gatherings of 250 or more people in the Seattle area and closed schools, while Oregon Governor Kate Brown applied the same ban to all of Oregon.


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