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Crater Days canceled after COVID-19 scare

Truck pull and golf tournament will still happen

-Messenger photo by Elijah Decious
Carnival workers tear down the “Slime Winder” in Manson after learning that Crater Days would be canceled this year.

MANSON — Manson Greater Crater Days has been canceled after a steady increase in COVID-19 cases over the last several days and discovery of new cases at one employer in town.

The last-minute cancelation comes just two days before the event’s scheduled date, on Saturday.

The cancelation includes the parade down Main Street, the tractor ride following the parade, the bike ride scavenger hunt, lawn mower fun run, ATV fun run and drive-in movie.

The Truck Pull has been rescheduled from Friday night to Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Sports Park Raceway in Fort Dodge, according to a social media post.

The Middleton Two Man Classic at the Manson Golf & Country Club will continue as planned.

-Messenger photo by Elijah Decious
Crater Days in Manson, scheduled this year with a carnival and a variety of other events, was canceled Thursday afternoon after public health and city officials discovered a small outbreak in COVID-19 cases at a local business with the potential for more to surface.

Crater Days’ cancelation seems to be the first one in the annual event’s tradition that was not weather-related, said Mayor Dave Anderson.

“We proceeded into (planning) this knowing that (cancelation) was a possibility,” Anderson said. “The council and city of Manson were hoping to bring normalcy back. That was our intent with moving forward with Crater Days.”

They had social distancing signs and extra hand-washing stations ready, taking every precaution possible to still make the event feasible. But a break in new cases this week made the efforts fruitless.

Anderson said that city officials made the difficult decision after consulting Calhoun County Public Health, county officials, local clinics and the city’s insurance providers.

“Here in the last 48 hours, (COVID-19 cases) seem to have started to climb,” Anderson said, saying city officials thought it was the wisest decision in the community’s best interest. “We thought it was the right thing to do.”

Though Calhoun County’s case total rested at 29 Thursday, Carl Legore, public information officer for Calhoun County Public Health, said the number has seen an increase in the last week. About two-thirds of the county’s cases have shown up in June. Five have surfaced in the last week. The first case was identified April 11.

About 73% of those cases are adults and middle-age adults age 18 to 60. The most common occupations among those who test positive in Iowa are in manufacturing and industry.

After two employees at a local small business tested positive and others started to call in sick, Calhoun County Public Health set up a temporary testing site at Water Tower Park to accommodate testing of all employees and their contacts who may have been affected. The site was closed by midafternoon Thursday.

“The boss said his business wanted all employees tested,” Legore said. “The clinic in Manson was overwhelmed. They called Public Health.”

Some showed up to the site thinking it was free testing available to all, Legore said, which was not the case. He speculated that after prioritizing that business’ employees, testing staff may have used leftover test kits to test unrelated members of the public.

The business, which Legore said has less than 50 employees, has not had its name made public. The law does not require businesses to identify an outbreak among employees

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