Thirteen additional instances of COVID-19 have been connected to the Calgary Stampede, and experts believe the full extent of the event’s consequences will likely not be known for several weeks. As of Tuesday, 84 instances have been linked to the 10-day event, which concluded on July 18. This is an increase over the previous day’s report of 71 instances.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, stated that the statistics only reflect cases that were directly related to the event and not those who were exposed elsewhere in the 14 days preceding and following the event, such as at a home party or through a sick family member. So far, no deaths or hospitalizations have been related to the event, according to Alberta Health, and the “low number of instances” is a tribute to the public health precautions put in place by organizers.
The Stampede initially stated that only 0.01 percent of attendees tested positive, but later clarified that the number of attendees (nearly 529,000) represents the total number of people who passed through the gates, implying that the number may include duplicates and that the percentage who tested positive may be higher.
The Stampede did not respond to a request for an estimate of the number of unique visitors to the festival. Alberta Health also refused to reveal how many of the cases transmitted during the Stampede were variant cases, how many were acquired among vaccinated individuals, how many people are being isolated, or how far cases associated with the event have spread.
Case numbers have been growing across Alberta, but Calgary has the highest R-value, which means that every ten persons who test positive will spread COVID to 15 others. Nearly half of all current cases have an unknown origin. Calgary has 799 of Alberta’s 1,334 current cases.
Every few days, the number of cases of the more transmissible delta variety doubles. According to the government, “so far,” the Stampede does not appear to be a driver of increased instances. However, Dr. Alain Tremblay, a pulmonologist at Foothills Hospital, believes it is too early to tell, especially since the event concluded less than two weeks ago.
Tremblay expressed optimism that the province will continue to approach Trace forcefully. However, the province stated on Wednesday that contact tracers will no longer warn close contacts or examine settings that are not considered high risk. In recent weeks, Alberta has also reduced the number of contact tracing employees by hundreds.
In a few weeks, people who test positive for COVID-19 will no longer be obliged to isolate, and testing will be made accessible only when it is essential to lead patient care decisions. Dr. Stephanie Smith, an infectious disease physician at the University of Alberta hospital, said that while a few dozen cases connected to an event may appear minor, the larger ramifications are unknown.
Smith believes that the public will be put in greater danger over the following month due to increased community transmission. She added that while 54.7 percent of Alberta’s entire population has already gotten two vaccination shots, the significant number of unprotected persons and increasing spread serve as warnings that the epidemic is far from finished.