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Health officials: Large voter turnout shouldn’t heavily affect COVID-19 numbers

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(KTIV) -- While a large number of people showed up to cast their ballots, health experts say those working the polls did the best they could to keep voters safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kevin Grieme, Health Director for the Siouxland District Health Department said with all the precautions put in place, there shouldn't be a large increase in cases because of voter turnout.

"The intent was not to cluster people together. So, in the waiting area, if they maintained a distance from one another or were directly in contact for 15 minutes and they moved fairly efficiently through, it's a slight amount. But I don't think it's a great amount really," said Kevin Grieme Health Director for Siouxland District Health Department.

Grieme adds, while he'd like to see the sanitization practice in place even without COVID, he says the polling locations were well prepared for the voters.

"They had some astute sanitation practices that they had just developed. They trained their poll workers. They were doing what they could to make it as safe as an environment as possible and we're hoping they were just fairly successful," said Grieme.

While they won't see a possible increase in COVID-19 cases for the next 10 days to two weeks, Grieme said the weekend gatherings from Halloween could affect virus numbers.

"What probably is more concerning is the weekend behaviors before that. We're not going to know which may be some gathering related to the polling locations, although they put a lot of safety parameters in there," said Kevin Grieme.

Grieme again emphasizes the importance of social distancing and wearing masks, which have been their reminders, since the pandemic began.

Grieme said, with the holidays quickly approaching, they may start seeing increases in case numbers as people gather together.

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Emily Schrad

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