Health officials: No COVID-19 case increase from DORA, Opening Day crowd

Cincinnati contact tracing has not found any cases associated with the event, a spokesperson said.

DORA crowds on Opening Day

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Nearly a month after some raised concerns about a COVID-19 case surge from the Opening Day crowd at The Banks, city and county officials say no such case surge has occurred.

Overhead video of the Opening Day crowd went viral showing hundreds packed onto Freedom Way with inconsistent social distancing and mask use.

That video surfaced days after the city unveiled a designated outdoor refreshment area at The Banks. Photos of the DORA’s first weekend showed a similarly packed Freedom Way.

The crowding and poor mask use drew criticism from Gov. Mike DeWine, who described the scenes as “troubling” and said he “would not go there” or advise his family to go.

But no evidence — direct or indirect — exists of the DORA having led to increased transmission of COVID-19.

Marla Fuller is communications director for the Cincinnati Health Department.

“We did not see an increase in cases due to DORA,” Fuller told FOX19 NOW on Monday in response to a question about the Opening Day crowd. “We have been doing contact tracing but found nothing associated with the event.”

A Hamilton County Public Health spokesperson also told FOX19 NOW the county has not seen a “big” increase generally after Opening Day.

The issue of mask use and COVID-19 transmission outdoors comes amid warmer weather, continued vaccinations and the resumption of a countrywide case decline after a month-long plateau, according to CDC data.

The Biden administration is widely expected this week to relax federal guidance on wearing masks outdoors, according to CNBC.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear on Monday announced the first rollback of the commonwealth’s mask order since it was issued last July. Kentuckians no longer need to wear masks outdoors at events with fewer than 1,000 people.

Masks will not be required outdoors at Kings Island this summer.

Data on outdoor transmission of COVID-19 are generally limited, but a widely cited review of studies published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases late last year found transmission outdoors to be at least 20 times less likely than indoors.

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