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Outdoor concert spreads virus

Those who attended are urged to test

An outdoor music festival in Grant County spread Covid-19 across the state, perhaps underscoring the new realization that the most common variant of the virus that causes it spreads far more easily, even outdoors.

The Watershed Musical Festival held outdoors at The Gorge July 30-Aug. 1 is associated with over 230 new cases of COVID-19, Grant County Health District reported Friday.

Those cases were spread across the state, identified among Washington residents of King, Grant, Pierce, Skagit, Kitsap, Whatcom, Kittitas, Okanogan, San Juan, Lincoln, Spokane, Snohomish and Stevens counties, and one from Oregon.

“We urge the public to self-quarantine and seek testing if you attended the music festival,” a district statement reads. 

District Public Health Officer Dr. Alexander Brezny told the Board of Health Wednesday some had attended knowing they were infected with the disease.

“We have discovered people who actually had COVID, who showed up and decided that it’s OK to be there,” Brezny said.

Currently, most cases occuring across the country, and in Grant County, are of the “Delta” variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. That strain spreads far more readily, grows in the body at a faster rate, and can load up even vaccinated people, making them able to spread it readily even if they don’t know they’ve been exposed.

That’s why making is once again being emphasized as a good preventative.

Generally, COVID-19 spread occurs more commonly between individuals who are in close contact with one another through respiratory droplets that come from the mouth or nose when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, or speaks, the health district advises. “These droplets and particles can be breathed in by other people or land on their eyes, nose, or mouth.

The state Department of Health (DOH) recommends testing anyone with symptoms of COVID-19. DOH also recommends testing for people with likely exposures, such as close contacts of cases, or those exposed in outbreak situations.

“On average, symptoms of the virus develop five to six days post exposure, but the incubation period can be as long as 14 days. Some individuals never develop noticeable or debilitating symptoms — which is why it is recommended to self-quarantine and self-monitor for a full two weeks after any likely exposure.”

GCHD encourages vaccinations as the most reliable method of suppressing, and eventually controlling, COVID-19 locally.

“Masking and social distancing as much as possible during this time of surging cases and hospitalizations is still recommended to help reduce further spread,” the district statement reads.


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