Sundance Film Festival Possible Site Of Early COVID-19 Outbreak
PARK CITY, Utah – Illnesses among Sundance Film Festival-goers have sparked new questions about a possible coronavirus outbreak.
State epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn addressed the speculation during a news conference Wednesday.
”It is definitely possible that COVID-19 was circulating at Sundance,” she said.
Dunn said the health department at the time worked closely with Sundance planners and Summit County to set up screening and education for all Sundance visitors about symptoms.
“At that point, we hadn’t had any cases and so we were really just monitoring symptoms,” she said.
LIVE: State officials are holding an update on the ongoing coronavirus pandemic following news of 2 new deaths and 143 new cases.
Posted by KSL 5 TV on Wednesday, May 6, 2020
Nearly 120,000 people flock to Park City every year for the festival. The independent film festival featured a total of 244 projects from 44 countries.
Marshall Moore, former director of the Utah Film Commission, said after attending movies and events he fell seriously ill on the last day of the festival.
“The doctors couldn’t figure it out,” Moore said. “The cough was different, my body felt different, my breathing was different.”
Moore had been in and out of the hospital five different times before finally being admitted. He said the most frustrating part was getting a diagnosis from his doctor.
“She goes ‘I know there is something wrong with you — I can hear it — but I can’t see it on the x-ray. I’m gonna call the CDC and see what they think’,” he said.
But that did not come back with any answers. Instead, doctors eventually diagnosed him with RSV, rhinovirus, bronchitis and pneumonia.
He was now wondering if it was coronavirus and planned to get an antibody test to confirm it.
“During that time I came in contact with a lot of people in a very small area,” he said. “I don’t think [coronavirus] was on anybody’s mind. I know there is the traditional Sundance flu that everybody gets and then usually that’s just from everybody staying up too late.”
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How Do I Prevent It?
The CDC has some simple recommendations, most of which are the same for preventing other respiratory illnesses or the flu:
- Avoid close contact with people who may be sick
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