NDDoH official says Private Gatherings have been biggest spreader of COVID-19

Published: Oct. 23, 2020 at 8:40 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - COVID-19 continues to spread through the country and here locally. The active case count continues to reach record highs on a daily basis in North Dakota. While bars and restaurants have been taking much of the blame for the spread of the illness nationwide, health officials in Cass County say that the reason for the wide spread may be closer to home.

“Really the biggest spreader event is these social gatherings. Weddings, Funerals, Birthday Parties, things like that." Said Department of Health Field Epidemiologist Brenton Nesemeier. "People just not... taking personal responsibility and attending these large gatherings when they really haven’t been advised.”

Recently, bars, restaurants, and other businesses in Fargo have felt the impact of the case surge. A mask mandate is now in place and restaurants are encouraged to only hold 25% capacity. But the bigger spreader of this illness may, in fact, be a place where no guidelines are set. These events are difficult to regulate because there are no mask and social distancing guidelines in a private setting.

In his press conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in North Dakota, Governor Doug Burgum also highlighted to importance of using caution when it comes to private gatherings.

“With the level of positivity rate we have, the possibility of someone in that crowd in North Dakota being infectious and not knowing it and being asymptomatic is actually quite high." Said Burgum. "People need to be thoughtful about the size of all gatherings they’re attending whether they’re with family or in public.”

Public health officials are asking everyone to please stay cautious as you host events and gather together.

“If you want to host a gathering or host a group of friends. Keep it small keep it intimate." Nesemeier also advises to “Keep it close-knit with a small group of friends. Encourage mask wearing when you’re together.”

Nesemeier also said that it’s easy for cases to spread in these private gatherings, saying that "You get one or two cases that attend a larger social gathering and it just spreads like wildfire from there.”

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