A photo from Country Jam musical festival in Mack, Colorado, located about 20 miles from Grand Junction. Photo Credit: Rae Ellen Bichell/Kaiser Health News via AP.

A photo from Country Jam musical festival in Mack, Colorado, located about 20 miles from Grand Junction. Photo Credit: Rae Ellen Bichell/Kaiser Health News via AP.

The most recent outbreak report from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) indicated that Mesa County's Country Jam music festival was the site of a COVID-19 outbreak – meaning at least five or more new cases of COVID-19 may be related to the gathering. The festival takes place about 20 miles away from the western Colorado city of Grand Junction, in the town of Mack.

Editor's Note: The CDPHE defines an outbreak as five or more confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19, of which at least one case has had a positive molecular amplification test or antigen test, in a facility or (non-household) group with onset in a 14 day period. An outbreak determination does not necessarily mean all cases acquired their illness in that specific workplace/facility. It is possible that a case may have been exposed elsewhere. Find more information about outbreak definitions here.

According to the CDPHE report, the department has since attributed 23 cases of COVID-19 to the gathering, four among staff and 19 among attendees (as of a report released on July 14, which can be found here). This is a slight uptick from the 17 cases included in the July 7 report that was made a week prior.

The festival took place from June 24 to June 26 and is considered Colorado's largest event that combines country music and camping.

In an article from the Associated Press, Mesa County was pinpointed as a hot spot for the delta variant of COVID-19. According to that report, 42 percent of eligible adults in the country have been fully vaccinated, lagging behind the statewide rate of 69.6 percent of eligible adults. Due to concerns, health officials considered canceling the music festival but decided it was "too late" to do so with 23,000 tickets already sold. A ban on booze and a vaccination push were both considered as options to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at the festival, though officials ultimately decided to post additional signage urging caution while warning attendees that the location was a hot spot for the coronavirus.

The Grand Junction Carnival, another event that took place in Mesa County, was also determined to be the site of an outbreak. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment was informed about this outbreak on July 1, with one staff member and 8 attendees reportedly contracting COVID-19 at the outdoor event.

The two-week cumulative incidence rate in Mesa County was 305.9 at the time of publishing this article. This is high compared to many Colorado counties, but not as high as the rate in Moffat (573.5), Rio Blanco (586.6), Delta (340), Las Animas (331.2), and Archuleta (378.5) counties. This compares to a rate of 56.2 in Denver County and 132.6 in El Paso County.

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Director of Content and Operations

Spencer McKee is OutThere Colorado's Director of Content and Operations. In his spare time, Spencer loves to hike, rock climb, and trail run. He's on a mission to summit all 58 of Colorado's fourteeners and has already climbed more than half.


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(5) comments


Hope they all recover


All for a 99.819% survival rate or, for healthy people, a 100% survival rate. Stop the propaganda. Let us get on with our lives and back to 100% normal.


Obviously, you've studied epidemiology and infectious disease dynamics. FIrst, these are the first cases with clinical signs. Second, how many people were subsequently exposed to these persons when they were contagious. Third, how far did concertgoers travel after the event? Though you may think the number is small, this is not a dead-end for the transmission of the virus, which will likely be Delta variant.


All for as survival rate or 99.8% and healthy people, without pre-existing conditions have nearly a 100% survival rate. Stop the fear mongering and hyperbole.


Hmm, let's do the math. 23,000 tickets sold divided by 23 cases equals 1 case per 1,000 attendees. Or 1/10th of a percent. And probably all of those people will recover.

That's worth a headline -- festival spot of COVID outbreak??

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