71 COVID-19 cases linked to Calgary Stampede – but expert says it could be an underestimation

That Calgary Stampede and Alberta Health said Tuesday that 71 people were contracted COVID-19 at the 2021 event – but that could be an underestimation, according to the province’s former top doctor.

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This represents about seven cases a day or a total of 0.01 percent of 528,998 participants, Stampede said.

“This year, our community celebration was the first step in the safe return of live events for our city and our country,” said interim CEO Dana Peers in a Press release.

“We believe that Stampede 2021 was a success.

“We are committed to operating safely, and these results demonstrate the effectiveness of the improved safety measures that were put in place,” including rapid testing and reduced fleet capacity.

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Crowds build under Calgary Stampede Friday 9th. July 2021.

THE CANADIAN PRESS / Jeff McIntosh

Dr. Jia Hu, a public health doctor who advises Stampede, said the festival went “beyond” with safety measures.

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In this context, 749 cases were reported throughout Alberta during the last two weeks. The low number of cases associated with Stampede is not unexpected and strengthens the safe operating measures introduced along with the effectiveness of vaccines, ”she said in the press release.

Tom McMillan, assistant communications director at Alberta Health, reiterated Hu’s comments about vaccines and the “diligent way” organizers applied public health measures.

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“While a small number of cases were identified, Calgary Stampede so far does not appear to have been a major driver of rising COVID-19 cases in the province,” he said via email.


Click to Play Video: 'Calgary Event Planners Reflect on 2021 Calgary Stampede'



Calgary event planners reflect on 2021 Calgary Stampede


Calgary event planners reflect on 2021 Calgary Stampede – July 19, 2021

‘Probably an underestimation’

But Alberta’s former health chief says we have not seen the increase in cases yet. Dr. James Talbot suspects the 71 cases were from people who were tested and contact traced.

“Since we know that some people are asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic and have probably not been tested, it is probably an underestimation – not to mention that activities associated with Stampede, such as bar jumping, would still cause cases but would not be tracked as ‘was at Stampede,’ Talbot said via email.

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Stampede races 9 – 18 July.

“Cases tend to appear about two weeks after exposure. The first one would have started showing up on July 23rd and the end was on July 19th, so they would continue to show up until August 2nd, ”Talbot said.

“Then the cases will continue to increase as the people who are exposed to these people become infected.”

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