The Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness (LMPHW) is back at the Kentucky State Fair this year to inspect food vendors to ensure safety for attendees, and to staff a quiet, clean area for families to safely feed their babies and care for their needs. LMPHW is also reminding fairgoers to know their risk and take precautions as Jefferson County remains in the COVID-19 community red-alert level.
“Unfortunately, the transmission of COVID-19 is still high in our area. While we want you to enjoy the State Fair, we encourage you to do so safely,” said Dr. Jeffrey Howard, interim director of LMPHW. “You can protect yourself and others by wearing a well-fitting mask while visiting indoor exhibits, staying up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccines and staying home if you are sick.”
If you are at high risk for severe illness and planning to attend the Kentucky State Fair, talk to your doctor about taking additional precautions. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has been released updated guidance, including isolation and precautions for people with COVID-19.
During the Kentucky State Fair’s 11-day run, LMPHW will conduct more than 1,500 inspections of food vendors. Before the fair gates open every year, vendors are required to obtain both local and state temporary food service permits and complete a food safety training class.
“Before eating, patrons should also protect themselves by washing their hands thoroughly with soap and water, especially after using the restroom and touching animals,” said Connie Mendel, senior deputy director of LMPHW.
Before buying food, fairgoers should also consider:
- If the booth or concession stand is clean
- If employees are washing their hands in the handwashing sink
- If employees are wearing gloves or using togs when handling food
- If there is a refrigerator on site for raw ingredients and pre-cooked foods
- If the concession has a recent inspection, permit and food service training certificate posted
Food vendors can find information about Kentucky State Fair food service requirements, the online food safety course and how to obtain a temporary food service permit here.
Support for families – Rock N Relax
For the 31st year, LMPHW is teaming up with Baptist Health to sponsor the Rock N Relax area at the fair. Rock N Relax is a quiet, comfortable place where moms can breastfeed, or pump and families can change diapers. It has rocking chairs, changing tables, free wipes and diapers in several sizes.
“Rock N Relax offers families an opportunity to take a breather while enjoying the excitement of the Kentucky State Fair,” said Rebekah Scroggy, lactation program manager at LMPHW. “Not only will families get to rest and relax, but they can also learn more about breastfeeding, child health, nutrition and the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program.”
The Rock N Relax area can be found in section B100 in the lobby area of the South Wing at the fairgrounds.
Reminder: Wash your hands after petting animals
State fair season also brings an increase in interactions between people and livestock. According to the CDCthere are many types of germs that can spread between animals and people, but some of the most common illnesses people can get from petting livestock at fair exhibits are E. coli, cryptosporidium and salmonella.
“Children 5 years of age and younger, people with weakened immune systems as well as adults over 65 years of age are more likely to get sick from the germs animals can carry,” Mendel said. “Everyone should take precautions at the animal exhibits like avoiding taking food, drinks, toys, pacifiers, cups or baby bottles into those areas. You should also wash your hands right away or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer after visiting animal exhibits.”
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ABOUT LOUISVILLE METRO DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH AND WELLNESS
Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness (LMPHW) is a nationally accredited, independent, academic health department committed to achieving health equity and improving the health and well-being of all Louisville residents and visitors.