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Fourth Ave. Street Fair to continue despite coronavirus

Tucson's annual street fair on 4th Avenue will continue this month, with organizers downplaying concerns about the coronavirus outbreak and saying their event doesn't have the same challenges as the Festival of Books.

"The Fourth Avenue Street Fair does not suffer the same issues as the TFoB. Every booth is full, and we have a waitlist of artists calling every day, trying to get into the fair," said Fred Ronstadt, head of the Fourth Avenue Merchants Association.

The 50th anniversary of the event will be held March 20-22, Ronstadt said.

Citing a press conference held by civic leaders on Monday, he said that "the bottom-line message from our community's public health professionals was that there is still a lot to learn about the new coronavirus outbreak called COVID-19. What they do know from data gathered from communities across the globe dealing with the outbreak is that the worse thing we can do as a community in response to the virus is overreact."

"Instead, we should do the things we know work in combating the spread of illnesses like this virus," he said, repeating advice that people should frequently wash their hands with soap and water and "avoid contact with sick people, if you are able."

"Stay home if you are sick," Ronstadt said.

The organizers of the book festival called off the event, set for this weekend, after about one-third of the authors scheduled to participate said that they were pulling out.

Pima County health authorities announced Monday afternoon that a resident here was diagnosed with coronavirus that was likely contracted while traveling.

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That case is one of six diagnosed in Arizona, as of Tuesday morning.

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1 comment on this story

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15 comments
Mar 11, 2020, 5:49 am
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Phred says “stay home if you’re sick.”
He should say “stay home if you don’t want to get sick!”

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How to protect against coronavirus

From the Pima County Health Department:

If you have recently traveled to an area where COVID-19 is circulating, and have developed fever with cough or shortness of breath within 14 days of your travel, or have had contact with someone who is suspected to have 2019 novel coronavirus, please stay home. Most people with COVID-19 develop mild symptoms. If you have mild symptoms, please do not seek medical care, but do stay home and practice social distancing from others in the household where possible. If you do have shortness of breath or more severe symptoms, please call your health care provider to get instructions before arriving.

The best ways to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including COVID-19, are to:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then immediately throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.