Experts urge people to be COVID cautious while celebrating Labor Day weekend

Experts urge people to be COVID cautious while celebrating during Labor Day holiday weekend
Posted at 9:26 PM, Sep 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-03 23:10:28-04

CLEVELAND — The Labor Day holiday weekend is underway and it comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 94% of the country, and 100% of Ohio, is seeing the highest level of COVID-19 community spread.

The CDC is asking unvaccinated Americans to stay home this weekend, and even the vaccinated should carefully consider their holiday plans, the agency said.

In Northeast Ohio, from the Cleveland National Air Show to the Akron Pizza Festival, there are plenty of events taking place this weekend. News 5 caught up with festival-goers at the Kamm’s Corners Greek Festival and Cleveland Oktoberfest.

“We’re just here to support the Cretan community and the Greek community here and celebrating with the family,” said Maria Guevara, of Westlake.

Lines for authentic Greek food stretched out to the street during the first day of the annual Kamm’s Corners Greek Festival.

“French fries, really good French fries, and actually the music's pretty good, live music,” said Robert Madison, who attended the festival with his family.

Just down Interstate 71, more people gathered at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds in Berea for another treasured tradition—Cleveland Oktoberfest.

“We're here to get some beer and celebrate some German heritage,” said David Schwertner.

Both events are primarily held outdoors.

With COVID case numbers creeping up due to the Delta variant, Dr. Amy Edwards, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, wants people to think deeply about their plans before heading out this Labor Day weekend.

“The more people that attend public events, the more community spread there will be of COVID. The more community spread there is of COVID, the more quarantines there will be, the more school shutdowns there will be, the fuller the hospital will get,” said Edwards.

But if you want to celebrate, she said staying outside is key.

“Anything outdoors is always going to be safer,” said Edwards.

She also recommends the things we’ve all been hearing about for over a year now; wear a mask, socially distance, stay in small groups, and get vaccinated.

“Nothing is changed. We're still in the middle of a pandemic,” said Edwards.

Festival-goers News 5 spoke to say they’re making safety a priority in their plans so they can enjoy the holiday weekend with friends and family.

“We’re both vaccinated, and if it gets too crowded we'll keep our distance,” said Melanie Garcia, who attended Oktoberfest with a friend.

“I think everyone's tried to do their part and get a vaccine if that's what they want to do and I think most of us—it's outside, it's a beautiful weekend weather-wise so we got lucky,” said Guevara.

“We're pretty much ready to get out. Most of us have been vaccinated so we're like, 'we’ve done what we needed to do, so let's go out and enjoy ourselves now,’” said Madison.

Jade Jarvis is a reporter at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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