Council discusses COVID and summer events

Water Carnival photo courtesy of the Bemidji Jaycees

The Bemidji City Council discussed at length some of the challenges of predicting the future as the summer event season looms with the novel coronavirus pandemic still a factor.

Organizations such as the Bemidji Jaycees and Rotary Club are planning events such as Water Carnival and the Lake Bemidji Dragon Boat Festival in hopes that the area will have a low positivity rate and a high vaccination rate among residents.

While no formal action was taken during the work session Monday night, health professionals such as Dr. David Wilcox, the Chief Medical Officer at Sanford Bemidji, says vaccinating enough people to reach herd immunity is quite challenging.

As of Monday, around 34 percent of Beltrami County’s population had been vaccinated for COVID-19, with most national health professionals stating that 70 percent vaccination among a population is enough for herd immunity.

City staff, on the other hand, expressed some concerns about liability, and event organizers will likely need a solid COVID preparedness plan, with flexibility in case an outbreak of COVID hits the area.

The author is an active member of the Bemidji Jaycees.

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