Tulare County health officials urging public to stay safe as Labor Day nears

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- As the Labor Day holiday approaches, Tulare County health officials are reminding everyone to keep any parties this weekend small and celebrate outdoors.

The concern is COVID-19 could spread while people let their guard down at large family gatherings.

"Wearing a mask, social distancing, washing your hands frequently and avoiding large gatherings, they truly work," says Kaweah Delta CEO Gary Herbst.

Herbst is worried about the potential of seeing a resurgence in cases after this weekend.

According to Herbst, Kaweah Delta was nearly overwhelmed following a rise in cases soon after the Fourth of July holiday.

"Not only were we taking care of 91 COVID-19 patients, but also all of those other patients," he said. "Literally every single bed was filled almost."

If COVID-19 cases and the positivity rate go lower, Tulare County could be subject to fewer of the states' restrictions.

For that to happen, people must follow the health safety rules this weekend.

"Our contact investigation show that around 40% of our recent COVID-19 cases are stemming from exposure at a group setting," Herbst said.

Making matters worse for health care providers is the overlap of the flu season during the pandemic.

Hospitals want to avoid influenza and coronavirus patients from competing for the same bed and ER space.

"We're very worried about the one-two punch that we'd be battling a COVID virus with no vaccine and the flu," Herbst said. "You never know how severe the flu is going to be."

Local health officials say if you're going to have a party this weekend, they advise less than 10 people and try to do it outside.
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