Minnesota Department of Health officials say a person who attended a large protest at a northern Minnesota rodeo has tested positive for COVID-19.
Organizers of the North Star Stampede in Effie on July 25-27 said the event would happen with no spectators due to Gov. Tim Walz's coronavirus restrictions on large events, but encouraged people to turn up anyway take part in a "protest against ... government overreach," saying nobody would be turned away.
It was subsequently reported that "thousands" turned up to the rodeo as a result, and on Friday health officials says that one of those in attendance has since tested positive for the coronavirus.
It's believed they contracted the virus before the rodeo, as MDH says the individual developed symptoms on Sunday, July 27 and tested positive the same day.
As people are infectious for several days before symptoms appear, health officials believe the person in question was infectious at the rodeo, and as such it's asking anyone who attended the protest to watch for symptoms.
The health department says that the total number of people potentially exposed is unknown, but that an investigation is ongoing.
"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 Departm
As of Friday, no other illnesses have been linked to the event, but the incubation period for COVID-19 can be anything up to 14 days, so it's possible that more may emerge over the next week.
"If you attended this event, you should consider yourself potentially exposed," said Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm.
"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."ent of Health.