County taking measures to keep gem show from being superspreader

KOLD News 6-6:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Feb. 1, 2022 at 7:26 PM MST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - With the gem show back in full swing in Tucson, there is some concern about the possibility it could be a superspreader event.

“It could be a superspreader event because omicron spreads so well,” said Dr. Matt Heinz, who is a supervisor from District 2. “And you have a lot of people coming within the country that don’t have to be vaccinated.”

The concern is people who come from Florida, Texas and other places which have a low vaccination rate but not from people coming to Tucson from abroad.

“So folks who are typically who are coming from abroad are typically coming in both with a test as well as being fully vaccinated,” said Dr. Francisco Garcia, the Pima County Chief Medical Officer. “They probably don’t present much of a threat because of the way that the federal government has changed the entry rules.”

This is why Pima County is distributing a video to all vendors and shows which outlines the rules, especially that masks are required indoors if they can’t maintain six feet of distance.

But it’s likely not everyone will see the video or know about the mask mandate because there are so many people who arrive for a few days and then are gone.

One of those is Andrew Abramavage, who is in Tucson to buy gems and minerals to take back to Washington state.

When asked about the mask mandate he said “I had no clue about that.”

He was at the 22nd Street show maskless but added “to be honest, I have a mask in my pocket and if I was asked to put it on, I wouldn’t be opposed to it.”

He said about 75 to 80% of the people at the 22nd Street show were wearing a mask.

Pima County’s mask mandate runs until Feb. 22 after which it will go away or be renewed.

It appears, according to Garcia, that omicron cases have begun to recede in Pima County but that hospitalizations and deaths continue to rise. That’s because both are lagging indicators.

“Right now, I think we’re in a down time,” said Board Chair Sharon Bronson from District 3. “I don’t think things are great but they are improving.”

Copyright 2022 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.