Effie Rodeo Attendee Tests Positive for COVID-19, Others Urged to Watch for Symptoms

Effie Rodeo

EFFIE, Minn. – State health officials are urging people that attended the North Star Stampede in Effie to watch for symptoms of COVID-19 after it was determined that an attendee from a neighboring county was infectious at the event.

The Minnesota Department of Health says the person developed symptoms and tested positive for COVID-19 on July 27.

Health officials confirm that people are infectious several days before the onset of symptoms which means they were infectious during the event which took place July 25-27.

“People may have been infected with the virus, and we have an opportunity to prevent additional spread of the disease if we can get those in attendance to take the necessary precautions,” said Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm. “If you attended this event, you should consider yourself potentially exposed. That means you should be watching for symptoms and if you do develop symptoms, seek health care, and get tested. In the meantime, please limit your public interactions and activities for 14 days, practice social distancing, and wear a mask during all interactions with others.”

Thousands of people packed the stands at the 65th Annual North Star Stampede Rodeo in Effie despite — or rather in spite of — orders from the Governor to limit capacity at the outdoor event.

Days before, the organizer of the rodeo Cimmaron Pitzen posted on the rodeo’s Facebook page expressing his outrage at the state’s attempt to limit the number of spectators, and invited people to protest:

“Thanks to John Olson from the Mn Dept. of Health and Jason Pleggenkuhle from the Attorney General’s office pushing their political agendas, The North Star Stampede will take place with no spectators. If people would like to come and protest against this ridiculous Government Over Reach, feel free to do so, I will not stand in the way of peoples “Right to Assemble”

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison on Friday filed a complaint against the Itasca County company that organized and promoted the three-day rodeo that drew large crowds after the state imposed a spectator limit for the event.

Ellison is seeking unspecified damages against the company., as well as up to $25,000 in civil penalties for each of the numerous violations described in the complaint.

The company’s answering machine was not accepting messages Friday.

“Business owners and event operators need to know that they are not above the law,” Ellison said in a statement. “If they risk the health and safety of our communities, my office will take strong action, as we are doing today.”

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