ST. PAUL, Minn. - After thousands of people attended a rodeo in northern Minnesota, state health officials say they've now confirmed someone at the event was infected with COVID-19.
The North Star Stampede was held in Effie in Itasca County July 25 through July 27. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) says the person developed symptoms July 27 and tested positive the same day for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 disease. Because people are infectious several days before symptom onset, health officials determined the person was infectious while at the event.
MDH says they don't know how many people at the rodeo might have been exposed to the coronavirus.
“People may have been infected with the virus, and we have an opportunity to prevent additional spread of the disease if we can get those in attendance to take the necessary precautions,” says Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm. “If you attended this event, you should consider yourself potentially exposed. That means you should be watching for symptoms and if you do develop symptoms, seek health care and get tested. In the meantime, please limit your public interactions and activities for 14 days, practice social distancing and wear a mask during all interactions with others.”
Health officials say no other confirmed COVID cases have been connected to the rodeo but the incubation period for the coronavirus can be as long as 14 days.
“Our concern with this situation is heightened because we know that many people at this event were not wearing masks or practicing social distancing,” says Kris Ehresmann, director of infectious disease at the Minnesota Department of Health.
MDH is recommending anyone who attended the rodeo in Itasca County should monitor themselves for COVID symptoms and get tested if they develop. Attendees are also being encouraged to limit their public activites for two week.
State health officials are urging people who attended a rodeo in northern Minnesota to watch for symptoms of COVID-19 and to take precautions to limit spread after learning that an attendee was infectious while at the event.