At least 129 people caught COVID at Calgary Stampede, 325 attended while possibly infectious

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Alberta Premier Jason Kenney rides in the Calgary Stampede parade on July 9. At least 129 people caught COVID at the 10-day festival.  (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press - image credit)
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney rides in the Calgary Stampede parade on July 9. At least 129 people caught COVID at the 10-day festival. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press - image credit)

The number of COVID-19 cases linked to the Calgary Stampede continues to grow.

As of Wednesday, 129 people were confirmed to have caught COVID-19 at the 10-day festival which ended on July 18. That's up from 84 cases one week ago.

Alberta Health said 325 people attended the Stampede during their incubation period for the disease, but that many attended other activities during that period — meaning that number doesn't translate to cases acquired at the festival.

The R-value in Calgary is 1.5 — meaning that every 10 people who test positive will spread COVID-19 to 15 others.

The province also said that "those attending during their incubation period does not indicate that an individual necessarily transmitted the virus to others, as Stampede is largely outdoors where we know transmission is much more limited."

The Stampede originally said just 0.01 per cent of attendees tested positive, but later clarified that the number of attendees (nearly 529,000) represents the total who passed through the gates — meaning that number may include duplicate attendees and that the percentage who tested positive (which has since increased) may be even higher.

Case numbers have been rising across Alberta but are highest in Calgary, which has more than triple Edmonton's active cases.

The source of more than 45 per cent of active cases is unknown.

The province has continued to say that "so far" the Stampede does not appear to be a driver of increasing cases.

Active COVID-19 cases by health zone, over the past 3 weeks

Dr. Stephanie Smith, an infectious disease physician at the University of Alberta hospital, said last week that the greater repercussions of the event aren't yet known.

"If those … cases go home and they infect household members or people at their workplace then we may see larger numbers of secondary cases," she said.

Alberta Health has not answered questions as to how many of the cases transmitted at Stampede were variant cases, how many were acquired among vaccinated people, how many people are isolating or how far cases linked to the event have spread.

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