‘Handful’ of Derby-goers caught COVID, Louisville health director confirms

Kentucky Derby 147 was attended by 50,800 people.
Kentucky Derby 147 was attended by 50,800 people.(University of Louisville Marching Band | Flickr)
Published: May. 11, 2021 at 8:56 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Louisville Metro Health officials confirm they are now seeing the first cases of COVID-19 from people who attended the Kentucky Derby.

There were fears the Derby would be a superspreader event, as so few people wore masks. However, doctors claim it’s too early to know what these new cases could mean.

“People usually develop symptoms two to 14 days after contracting the disease so we’re still in the early stages here collecting data,” Dr. Sarah Moyer, the director of the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness, explained. “We have had a handful of cases to report attending Derby when they were in that infectious period.”

The number of infected Derby-goers was initially described as a “handful” by Moyer. The department later clarified it as four.

The Derby was attended by 50,800 people.

“If it turns out to be just 10 people or less out of that large number, that’s great,” Dr. Mark Burns, a UofL infectious disease specialist, said. “I don’t think we’ve seen those levels in quite some time.”

Tuesday, the health department reported 666 new cases of COVID-19, the lowest number of new cases in one week since July of 2020. Moyer said the numbers are being driven by people who had attended an event like a party or wedding in the previous two weeks.

“For anyone who attended any sort of event, whether it was big Derby or a party in your backyard or at a friend’s house, please get tested,” Moyer said. “If you have any symptoms right now and if you didn’t get tested last week, it’s always a good idea to get tested if you’re not fully vaccinated.”

Doctors say it is still too soon to draw conclusions about the Derby impact. The 14-day window after Derby, when COVID symptoms could present themselves, doesn’t expire until Friday.

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