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Health officials urge rodeo patrons to watch for symptoms after attendee found to be infectious

Aug 03, 2020 08:17AM ● By Editor
Photo: KARE 11

From the Minnesota Department of Health - August 1, 2020

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. 

The Minnesota Department of Health has determined that a Minnesota resident from a neighboring county attended the North Star Stampede in Effie in Itasca County July 25-27 while they were infectious with COVID-19.

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.  

It’s not known how many of the several thousand people who attended the event may have been exposed, but health officials are still investigating and trying to determine whom the person may have had contact with at the event.

“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,” said 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 said no other illnesses connected with this event have been detected yet, but the incubation period for COVID-19 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,” said Kris Ehresmann, director of infectious disease at the Minnesota Department of Health.

As some indicators are suggesting increasing virus activity in the state, health officials urged all Minnesotans to double down on those measures that can help limit spread of the disease:

  • Wear masks when in public. Up to 50% of virus carriers can have no symptoms. Wearing a mask helps control the virus and has been shown to lower COVID-19 spread. 
  • Avoid enclosed spaces with groups of people, where the virus can linger in the air for long periods of time.
  • Get tested if you have cold or flu-like symptoms. Find testing locations
  • Stay 6 feet away from others.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or sleeve, or a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands afterward.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom or before eating. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your face – especially your eyes, nose and mouth – with unwashed hands.

Up-to-date guidance is available from on the health department’s Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) webpage.

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