Grand Junction’s Country Jam Leads to COVID-19 Outbreak
At the end of June, thousands of people flocked to Grand Junction in Mesa County for the Country Jam music festival. Now, the event has spurred a COVID-19 outbreak.
According to outbreak data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), four employees and 13 attendees contracted the virus after attending the festival.
As of June 22, just two days before the event, over half of Colorado's Delta variant cases were in Mesa County. However, CDPHE has not revealed whether or not the affected festival-goers have it.
The variant is causing concern all over the state, as it is much more contagious than other forms of COVID-19. As it continues to spread across Colorado, health officials are urging the public to get vaccinated.
"This highly contagious variant is particularly concerning for vulnerable unvaccinated groups, including those 11 years old and younger who cannot yet get vaccinated," said Tom Gonzales, Director of the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment (LCDHE), in a statement. "Getting vaccinated now can significantly improve protection for yourself and for our community."
Despite Country Jam's outbreak, organizers asked guests to wear masks and practice social distancing of at least three feet during the event. Vaccinations were also available on-site.
However, Dr. Rachel LaCount, a local hospital pathologist, does not believe that attendees abided by these precautions.
"We're making national news for our new COVID variant...but we have a huge festival where people aren't masking," she told Kaiser Health News. "Are we going to get herd immunity over here just because everyone's going to get it? I mean, that's probably going to happen at some point, but at what cost?"
Country Jam organizers have not commented on the outbreak.
The NoCo Virus Tracker articles are made possible by our partners, the Keep NoCo Open campaign that reminds citizens to wear a mask, wash your hands, physically distance and support local as Northern Colorado recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.