Advance Notice: Briefs

Health officials carrying out COVID-19 probe after outbreak linked to Faster Horses Festival

By: - July 26, 2021 11:47 am

COVID-19 testing site at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing | Susan J. Demas

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced that it is working with local public health departments on an investigation of cases of COVID-19 illness associated with the Faster Horses Festival, which was held July 16 to 19 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. 

At least 17 cases of COVID-19 have been identified as stemming from the country music event. It comes at a time when cases of the Delta variant strain of COVID-19 are spreading throughout the country, including Michigan.   

Unrelated to the pandemic, three men at the festival died of carbon monoxide poisoning in a travel trailer. One woman died in a separate incident, which the Michigan State Police is investigating

“Although we have made great progress with vaccination in our state, the virus continues to circulate in Michigan and across the country,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at DHHS. “Attendees at the festival may have been exposed and are urged to get tested if they are not fully vaccinated or if they develop symptoms.”

DHHS encourages Faster Horses concert goers to get tested for COVID-19 if they have not been fully vaccinated, or have been vaccinated, but have developed symptoms. 

People experiencing severe COVID-19 symptoms such as trouble breathing, chest pain, inability to wake or stay awake or pale or blue-colored skin, lips or nail beds, should seek emergency care immediately, DHHS advises.

As of Friday, 57.7% of Michiganders ages 12 and up had received at least one dose, according to the state’s COVID-19 dashboard. More than 5 million Michiganders 16 and older, 62.9%, have received at least their first dose of the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine. 

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Ken Coleman
Ken Coleman

Ken Coleman covers Southeast Michigan, economic justice and civil rights. He is a former Michigan Chronicle senior editor and served as the American Black Journal segment host on Detroit Public Television. He has written and published four books on black life in Detroit, including Soul on Air: Blacks Who Helped to Define Radio in Detroit and Forever Young: A Coleman Reader. His work has been cited by the Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, History Channel and CNN. Additionally, he was an essayist for the award-winning book, Detroit 1967: Origins, Impacts, Legacies. Ken has served as a spokesperson for the Michigan Democratic Party, Detroit Public Schools, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence. Previously to joining the Advance, he worked for the Detroit Federation of Teachers as a communications specialist. He is a Historical Society of Michigan trustee and a Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit advisory board member.