Music show

COVID-19 outbreak attributed to live music performance in Felton – Santa Cruz Sentinel

FELTON — A concert at Felton Music Hall this month caused a significant outbreak, the venue announced on its social media Monday night.

After Los Angeles-based band Grateful Shred performed at the venue on July 18, one attendee showed symptoms of COVID-19. When the group was tested, almost all of the members tested positive for COVID, an Instagram post explains. Venue owner Thomas Cussins told the Sentinel on Tuesday that his staff were alerted to a possible confirmed case on Saturday; Sunday, the case was confirmed.

“Apparently the vaccine does not prevent transmission. But luckily, it really does seem to help reduce illness and prevent hospitalizations,” band members Grateful Shred said in their own statement.

Shortly after, it was discovered through a rapid test that a member of staff had also likely contracted the virus. This person is in quarantine awaiting the results of effective routine PCR tests or COVID-19 tests used by pharmacies and healthcare providers to detect the virus. Other staff are following suit with their own rapid test and PCR periods.

“In addition to the band, we have had several confirmed cases of COVID-19 from people who attended our concert,” the venue management wrote. “Over the weekend, we sent out two emails notifying ticket buyers.”

Cussins said two emails were sent to the 291 participants – one when a group member’s case was suspected and another when it was confirmed. According to him, four attendees contracted COVID-19 during the show.

Felton Music Hall is asking everyone in attendance to get tested. In the meantime, it will remain closed until Thursday, when all testing is complete. No one will be allowed to return to work until they can present proof of a negative COVID-19 test; at this time, no unvaccinated worker will get shifts out of caution, Cussins said.

“We want to be completely transparent with all the information we have as we get it. Anyone can contact us through the website,” Cusses said. “We are going to be as open as possible, as information is coming in from all directions.”

Improve protocols

Following the outbreak, the venue said on social media that it would require all concertgoers and staff to wear masks while inside the venue. Staff also advocate that anyone attending an event at Felton Music Hall take their temperature and self-assess for any symptoms before leaving the house.

“We know masks work. We believe that, just like in an airplane, it is certainly appropriate for us to (implement) while we discover the Delta variant,” the owner said.

Vaccination was also encouraged in the message “to ensure the resumption of normal life”. Cussins said he regrets that vaccination has become a political point of contention when it comes to a public health issue.

“It’s hard as a small business owner trying to figure out what’s the best method…I don’t know if it’s (our) place to require (everyone to be vaccinated) to come rather than the government,” Cussins said. “If the government were to impose this, we would obviously respect this rule.”

The site is working with the Santa Cruz County Division of Public Health to do this, Cussins said. County spokesman Jason Hoppin confirmed the partnership Tuesday afternoon, calling Cussins and his team cooperative and even helpful in identifying and investigating cases.

“It’s one of the few venues that’s open for indoor concerts…so it’s a unique circumstance,” Hoppin said. “I wouldn’t describe it as airy or having a lot of cross breezes, so that may have been a contributing factor.”

Hoppin has repeatedly attended concerts in the hall, as good acts enter a relatively confined space for an intimate concert experience – something rewarding under normal circumstances but risky under COVID circumstances. As a result, the county is working with Cusses to see how to make the environment safer in a COVID-riddled world.

“Even though it’s very expensive to be shut down for several months — more than half of our existence — we’re trying to look at various filtration systems and (tools) of that nature that might also help,” Cussins said. to the unfortunate proximity of the pandemic to the venue opening in July 2019. “All we want to do is bring music and culture to Felton, Santa Cruz County. It is incredibly disappointing what happened…but public health and the health of the community are of the utmost importance to us.

As the venue improves its offerings, staff and county health officials are also calling on attendees to do their part.

“The message to the community is the way out of this is vaccines, especially among this population. It is usually young adults who attend these types of shows and it is the population group that is the lowest in terms of vaccination rates. We need to increase the number,” Hoppin said. “If this was a pandemic where people had mild or no symptoms, we wouldn’t be in the situation we are in. The problem is unvaccinated people. Breakthrough cases are to be expected, but these people do not end up in hospitals. »