PICKAWAY – Pickaway Health says that it wasn’t in the planning that went wrong at the fair but the execution that causes 21 cases directly linked to spread at the Pickaway fair but the investigation is still ongoing.
According to the after action report from the fair planning and organizing before the event was through and extensive process.
“The planning process for the 2020 Pickaway County Fair was a very thorough and
extensive process. Pickaway County Public Health spent many hours in
preparation and in communication with Ohio Department of Health to ensure the
proper guidance and interpretation of the regulations for an event of such
magnitude during a global pandemic.”
The Health board says that they collaborated on a consistent basis with Pickaway County Emergency Management Agency to ensure that the guidance for the fair board was solidified before the meeting on June 4th. The Health department attended multiple county fair meetings.
“During these site visits, PCPH was observing and making recommendations of things that needed to be corrected in order to protect people from enhancing the spread of COVID-19.”
Health Department says that areas that needed to improve was:
1. Failure to execute from Pickaway County Fair Board.
o The Fair Board had great plans to ensure safety, but the safety measures were not
implemented in a way that was effective.
2. Food vendors
After-Action Report/ 2020 Pickaway County Fair
Improvement Plan (AAR/IP)
Analysis 4 Pickaway County Public Health
o Pickaway County Public Health met with a Fair Board Member, during this
meeting, the expectations and consequences were discussed by PCPH
Environmental Health Director, Jere Marks. The director of concessions stated
that he understood the expectations that were put into place due to the COVID-19
pandemic. However, these expectations were not adhered to. There were food
vendors that allowed condiment bottles to be set out for use by any attendee of the
fair. This action allows for a significant amount of spread of COVID-19 disease
from fair attendee to fair attendee.
o Fair Staff and food vendors were observed on Wednesday, June 24 th , 2020 by the
EH Division. During, this observation visit, it was noted that the staff and food
vendors were not adhering to the mask wearing guidance provided directly from
PCPH to the Fair Board members in the planning meeting on June 4 th , 2020.
o PCPH Director of Nursing followed up on this observation on Friday, June 26 th ,
2020 and provided additional regulations to Fair staff and Board members
reminding them of the mask wearing requirements. It was observed on Saturday,
June 28 th , and Sunday, June 29 th , that the requirements were not being
unanimously followed to protect fair attendees and staff from the potential spread
of the COVID-19 virus.
Where PCPH feels that to fix these issues they should have done the following:
The Environmental Health Division of PCPH feels that a meeting before the event
started would have been helpful. Expectations and penalties for violations (such as removal from the event) could have been communicated to the food vendors. This would have helped Area of Improvement 2, detailed below, as we would have had an enforcement plan.
The environmental health division actively attended the fair to notify the Fair Board
of faulty practices that were taking place during the event that were going to attribute to the spread of COVID-19 if they were not corrected.
Moving forward the PCPH will have more stricter with enforcement of requirements that the organizations need to follow and the EH division will be also more proactive in communication with fair board prior to event.
Pickaway County Fair Board and people executing the fair planning and event, there was
a lack of implementation on the precautions taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This
failure is shown in the number of concerns people had about having the fair during a global pandemic and it is also reflected in the data showing the spike of cases due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Pickaway County had roughly 19 cases directly from people who attended the fair and 3 cases from family members who had attended the fair and passed it on to them. There was a death that may have been linked to a person in fair attendance, but the investigation of cases is still ongoing.
PCPH staff spent a significant amount of time collaborating for the planning of the 2020
Pickaway County Fair as well as attending the fair consistently to let the Fair Board members know where the failure to implement was occurring. There were few improvements made by the Fair Board to correct their actions during the event, and these have been documented in the improvement plan and will be discussed and applied to future events during the COVID-19 pandemic or other pandemic events that may occur in the future.
Pickaway Health reports that in June they had a average active case count of 7, in July those cases spiked to over 50 active cases in the area.