MDH: Infected with COVID-19, rodeo goer may have exposed several thousand at Itasca County event

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Published: Jul. 31, 2020 at 1:58 PM CDT
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ITASCA COUNTY, M.N. (Valley News Live) - Minnesota health officials are urging rodeo goers to watch for COVID-19 symptoms 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 infected with COVID-19.

The person developed symptoms July 27 and tested positive the same day for 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.

This is a developing story. Stick with Valley News Live for updates.

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