Santa Cruz concert linked to several positive COVID-19 cases among guests, staff and band members

Dustin Dorsey Image
Wednesday, July 28, 2021
Santa Cruz concert linked to positive COVID-19 cases
Santa Cruz County is investigating a Grateful Shred concert at the Felton Music Hall that led to multiple positive COVID-19 cases.

FELTON, Calif. (KGO) -- A concert in Santa Cruz County is being linked to an outbreak of COVID-19 that left concertgoers, staff and even members of the band with positive cases.

After a year off due to the pandemic, the Felton Music Hall landed a long list of concerts for their summer series.

But it's the Grateful Shred show on July 18 that's making headlines.

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"I spoke to the Santa Cruz County Health Board Monday morning," Felton Music Hall Owner Thomas Cussins said. "Together through contract tracing and those emails, we've been able to determine four people have tested positive for COVID that were at the show on the 18th."

The band released a statement on their Instagram page saying that nearly their entire band and crew contracted the coronavirus as well despite being fully vaccinated.

One Felton Music Hall staff member reported a positive COVID-19 test too.

Santa Cruz County is investigating the possibility of more cases at the Grateful Shred shows at Felton Music Hall and the Roaring Camp venue during the weekend of July 17 and 18.

"We've only recently become aware of this situation so our communicable disease unit is investigating," Santa Cruz County Communications Manager Jason Hoppin said. "We're in the early stages of that investigation, so we're still trying to understand the scope and source."

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The hall announced shows are canceled until Aug. 5 and there will be a policy change.

As a result of the outbreak, anyone that will be attending a future concert here at the Felton Music Hall will be required to wear masks and all employees must be vaccinated.

"Our first concern is to make sure that our community is safe," Cussins said. "We were shut down from March 2020 until last month, til mid-June. So opening up, we were so excited bringing music back to Santa Cruz County and to Felton, so this is just absolutely devastating to hear people getting these cases here at the hall."

Santa Cruz resident Andrea Eckhardt was checking out the list of upcoming shows when we shared the news of the recent outbreak and the new rules.

She's been to shows here before, but won't go again anytime soon.

"The CDC said if you're fully-vaxxed, 'go for it, go to events with no masks, you'll be fine'," Eckhardt said. "Now we keep hearing about more and more of these situations where a bunch of fully-vaxxed people get together and there is a huge outbreak like there was here. Like I think that's great and I support whatever they decide to do to keep their staff and patrons safe, but for me, if it's really going to get that bad, I'm just going to stay outside."

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The county is recommending, not requiring mask wearing while indoors.

They say they will not be adding any new restrictions or warnings despite this outbreak.

"Part of the reason there is not a requirement is because the solution to this kind of problem is right in front of us," Hoppin said. "There's vaccines that are widely available. Unfortunately, the groups that we are seeing that are kind of lagging in the vaccination rates tend to be those younger adults, the kind of groups you see going to a concert like this."