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.

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.

Mesa County was pinpointed as a hot spot for the delta variant of COVID-19 earlier this month. According to a report by the Associated Press, 42 percent of eligible adults in the country have been fully vaccinated, a number that lags behind the statewide rate of 69.6 percent of eligible adults.

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 but officials ultimately decided to post signs that urged caution and informed attendees that the county 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 state's health department was informed about this outbreak on July 1.  One staff member and 8 attendees reportedly contracted 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. The number 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.

Spencer McKee is OutThere Colorado's Director of Content and Operations. In his spare time, Spencer loves to hike, rock climb, and trail run.

Load comments