Montgomery County Courthouse

(Red Oak) -- As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, at least one KMAland health agency is calling for curtailing large events.

Montgomery County's Board of Health this week issued a position statement urging residents to avoid holding mass gatherings, because of dangers of community spread. Samantha Beeson is the county's public health administrator. Beeson tells KMA News her agency issued the statement in response to public feedback on such gatherings.

"We just had several questions from people wanting to hold events," said Beeson. "We have had a few meetings with different entities, and it was just decided that we would just put out a statement on holding large events. The cases keep climbing here in Montgomery County, as well as surrounding counties, and we just felt now was the best time to issue this, so that people knew where the board of health stood on holding large gatherings and mass events."

Under the position statement, the board of health discourages mass gatherings in the county until the threat of COVID-19 spread has diminished. Events where attendees travel from outside the local area are also discouraged. Beeson, however, says residents should follow Iowa Department of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control guidelines if such events must be held.

"Staying home when ill, social distancing, making sure you have space to adequately social distance," she said. "You know, modify your layout if needed. Increase your hygiene practices. Have handwashing stations, and if those aren't available, have hand sanitizer. Encourage mask use or face coverings when you can't social distance, adequate cleaning and sanitizing of the frequently-touched surfaces, and then just increase your messaging, and your signage."

Additionally, Beeson says her agency and the board are willing to work with anyone planning a large event.

"We are willing to go to different entities," said Beeson. "You know, we've helped the schools at the football field, the baseball field. We've walked through their facilities, and we've said, 'here's how we think is the best way to mitigate the spread.' And, we've worked with them."

Anyone with questions should contact Samantha Beeson at 712-623-4893.

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