UPDATE 3:02 PM | 3 new coronavirus cases are now confirmed in Coachella Valley, according to local KTLA affiliate.
“Officials believe three new cases announced Monday involve people who either traveled into “areas where COVID-19 has been confirmed” or came into contact with another known patient, Dr. Cameron Kaiser, the county’s public health office, said in a news release.”
Many festivals and events have been cancelled as a result of coronavirus, and in an effort to stop its spread and prevent liability on the part of these major brands. Ultra in Miami and Tomorrowland Winter in France were among the first on the chopping block, with Austin’s SXSW conference cancelled more recently.
Coachella has been a point of concern from the very beginning — still more than a month away, it’s one of the largest music festivals in the country and attracts a very international crowd. Last Thursday, Riverside County health and elected officials held a press conference to quell concerns over the festival, saying that they had given no orders to either Coachella or Stagecoach to cancel.
Yesterday, a local public health emergency for Riverside County was declared Sunday by Dr. Cameron Kaiser, Riverside County public health officer, in the wake of the first case of locally acquired coronavirus.
“It’s possible for life to still go on under a public health emergency declaration. And some events that are lower-risk may still be able to take place with appropriate precautions … some, however, may not. We will be looking at these on a case-by-case basis,” Kaiser said.
Public health emergencies are often declared in order to gain access to more advanced medical services and funds, and may not necessarily indicate an “emergency” in the traditional sense of the word.
As of Sunday, Coachella was still on.
The BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament at Indian Wells was cancelled Sunday because of coronavirus concerns; however, it is important to note the tournament was scheduled to run this coming weekend, not a month from now, when concern over the virus may be lower or it may be more contained.
Riverside County has an estimated population of more than 2.4 million people; details of where or when the patient may have been exposed to the virus were declined under privacy rules.
“The context of the case matters,” Kaiser said, referring to the degree to which the declaration may affect people’s lives.
Photo via Coachella