PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Portland Fire & Rescue announced Tuesday that it has decided to cancel its 2022 Santa Safety event after Multnomah County Health officials’ latest announcement. 

On Monday, Multnomah County Health Department said the regional health system is strained due to respiratory syncytial virus, the flu and COVID-19. 

Multnomah County Health Officer Jennifer Vines asked the public to consider wearing masks again in public to prevent the spread of the three viruses. 

“[Masking] tends to stabilize schools and it tends to lower spread of illness enough for essential functions to continue happening that we all rely on, whether we think about them or not,” Vines said. 

Portland Fire & Rescue holds its annual Santa’s Safety event on a Saturday in December. The kid-friendly event involves photos with Santa Claus and teaches kids how to avoid fire hazards through displays at the Historic Belmont Firehouse. 

The event is an annual fundraiser for the firehouse. 

Because of an unprecedented number of RSV cases impacting young children in Multnomah County, Portland Fire & Rescue canceled the event. 

It hopes to bring the holiday tradition back in 2023.