Ventura County Fair canceled amid ongoing coronavirus concerns

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Officials on Monday voted to cancel the Ventura County Fair amid ongoing concerns over the spread of the coronavirus.

The Ventura County Fairgrounds Board of Directors voted unanimously to cancel the seaside event, which was supposed to be held Aug. 5 to Aug. 16.

“Every year thousands of happy faces come through the fair gates to enjoy the County’s most timeless tradition,” Fair CEO Barbara Quaid said in a statement.  “It is because of those smiling faces that we are completely comfortable with this decision. We are already looking forward to welcoming everybody back in 2021 when we will resume the 145th Ventura County Fair.”

The fair began in 1875 and returned annually, except during World War II, officials said.

The fair board has partnered with Ventura County Food Share during the crisis and the fairgrounds will be used as a food distribution site.

Quaid said officials at the fairgrounds will resume planning future events “once it has been deemed safe to do so.”

Also on Monday, officials expanded coronavirus testing to symptomatic and some asymptomatic people who meet certain criteria.

Free testing is now available at nine sites throughout the county, with two reserved for frontline and essential workers, officials said.

One of the two criteria must be met to be eligible for testing in Ventura County:

  1. Exhibit symptoms for COVID-19, including cough or shortness of breath, or two of the following symptoms: fever greater than 100.4F, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell.
  2. Be an asymptomatic close contact of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Asymptomatic close contacts may be tested up to two times, both at the beginning and end of a 14-day quarantine period. “If they are positive at the first test, they do not need to be re-tested at 14 days,” officials explained in a news release.

A close contact is defined as a person living or staying at the same residence as a person who is positive, being an intimate sexual partner with a positive case, staying within 6 feet for more
than 10 minutes while the positive person is not wearing a mask, or having direct contact for
any amount of time with the body fluids or secretions of the positive case, officials said.

Testing is available for frontline workers through health services company OptumServe as part of a partnership with the state, according to the Ventura County Star.

Residents can pre-register at https://lhi.care/covidtesting or call 1-888-634-1123 for appointments Monday to Friday.

The sites set up for those residents are at:

Oxnard Performance Arts Center
800 Hobson Way, Oxnard

Conejo Creek Parks South
1300 East Janss Road, Thousand Oaks

Other residents can call 805-652-7660 for pre-screenings and appointments at seven other locations:

Las Islas Family Medical Group- South
325 West Channel Islands Blvd., Oxnard

Magnolia Family Medical Center
2240 E. Gonzales Rd., Oxnard,

Academic Family Medicine Center
300 Hillmont Ave., Bldg. 340, Ventura

West Ventura Medical Clinic
133 W. Santa Clara St., Ventura

Fillmore Family Medical Group
828 W. Ventura St., Fillmore

Conejo Valley Family Medical Group
125 W. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Suite 200, Thousand Oaks

Sierra Vista Family Medical Clinic
1227 East Los Angeles Ave., Simi Valley, 93065

As of Monday, about 11,000 residents had been tested in the county, and officials hope to able to test 4,000 people a week.

Additionally, epidemiologists are working on a new contact tracing program to help identify and notify people who have been in contact with a person who has tested positive for coronavirus. The measure will be discussed at the Ventura County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, and officials hope to hire teams of people to help with those ramped up efforts.

As of Monday, the county had a total of 577 coronavirus cases with 19 deaths.

Officials continued to praise residents for abiding by social distancing guidelines while visiting local beaches over the weekend, which remain partially open.

With Gov. Gavin Newsom announcing that retail businesses and other low-risk sectors can reopen as soon as Friday, Ventura County Executive Officer Mike Powers said Monday that residents can look forward to following the state’s plans for reopening.

“With the good work that you’re doing, you’re helping us meet these criteria so it’s going to allow us to move forward down the road,” Powers said. “These measures are important for our public help, but they’re also important for our economy.”

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