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‘It’s beyond frustrating’: Health officials react to Utah Co. Halloween party, urge people to get tested

Posted at 5:15 PM, Nov 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-02 20:31:32-05

UTAH COUNTY, Utah — Local leaders continue to express their frustration over a Utah County Halloween party that drew thousands of people over the weekend.

The organizers of the event held at an area known as "The Knolls" near Utah Lake did not have an event permit and violated public health order, a spokesperson for the Utah County Sheriff’s Office said.

READ: Organizers could face charges over Utah County Halloween party

One young woman was transported to the hospital after a crowd surfing incident, and multiple people were involved in car accidents, according to UCSO.

"To see an event of this size is extremely disheartening, as Utah deals with it’s worst Covid-19 outbreak yet," said Aislynn Tolman-Hill, the Utah County Health Department's Public Information Officer.

“Individuals who attended this event absolutely will become ill, we will have positive cases and those individuals will then spread it to other individuals who never intended to: 1. Attend that event or 2. Who have been trying to protect themselves on end,” she said.

One of the major concerns is testing, Tolman-Hill said. Event organizers posted on social media a plea to people who attended the party to not get tested for COVID-19.

“Getting tested simply provides the mob with more ammunition to control our lives,” the post read in part.

“The message that is being sent to you is absolutely incorrect and dangerous," Tolman-Hill said." You need to be tested.”

Testing and contract tracing are extremely important parts of helping to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

“It is very, very important for us to know what those case counts look like, so that we can appropriately try to mitigate the cases,” said Tolman-Hill, who added that this could become a massive issue throughout the state and further hinder life from getting back to normal.

“When people don’t go get tested on purpose, that really hampers the efforts of everything that is being done, not only throughout the country, throughout the state and throughout the nation,” she said.

On Saturday, the party was shut down because the event organizers did not have a permit for the large-scale event, Sgt. Spencer Cannon with UCSO said. The organizers may now face charges according to officials.

The Utah County Health Department has dealt with allegations of people not following the public health orders before, but never to the extent of this Halloween party.

“This is new in terms of taking this to this level, to this scale,” said Tolman-Hill.

There appeared to be no Covid-19 precautions taken at all as video on social media show thousands of people close together without wearing masks.

(WARNING: Language in video below may be offensive)

The Utah County Attorney said his office is looking into the allegations against the event organizers and will decide whether or not to bring charges in the coming days.

“In the meantime, we are a community of people, all fighting a pandemic. In addition to our personal liberties, we also have community responsibilities," David O. Leavitt, Utah County Attorney, said. "Each of us have a responsibility to reduce risk, lower spread, and do what we can to help combat this worldwide pandemic. With hospitals at capacity, healthcare workers overworked and exhausted, we are concerned that the outcome of spread could result in critical healthcare events. We urge caution… and consideration of how this affects everyone.”