With the majority of the state documenting “Very High” COVID-19 case numbers, an Utah rave is making headlines for hosting up to 10,000 people despite surges in new cases over the past several weeks.
NBC News reports that Utah officials said the party was advertised as a “protest” against COVID-19 restrictions, with Utah County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Sgt. Spencer Cannon estimating the party saw anywhere from 3,000 to 10,000 people in attendance.
The rave was held at a location known as The Knolls on the west shore of the Utah Lake, opposite from Provo. It was organized by Utah Tonight, an events organizer. Police shut down the party at about 10:00 pm on Halloween night when medical assistance was requested after a woman was knocked unconscious after crowd surfing.
The hosts of the event announced the party on Instagram in late September, as new infections began to increase. The post read “Living in fear isn’t living at all! Mark your calendars for October 31.”
Eventually, however, the organization appeared to cancel the event on its Instagram page on Oct. 27, saying tickets would be refunded within five to seven business days.
“We find it both disheartening and concerning that some within our society have allowed fear to supplant basic rights of assembly, giving individuals within the media and some public servants the ability to control what we consider to be ‘the pursuit of happiness,’” the statement read.
Despite this announcement, the party reportedly continued.
The office of Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) released a statement reiterating that COVID-19 is primarily spread through social gatherings and that the virus “is all too real and terrifying for the medical professionals working overtime in our packed ICUs.”
“We must decide, and show by our actions, that the lives of everyone around us matter more to us than parties. If we do not, we will have a difficult time beating COVID-19 as a society,” the statement read.
Currently, Utah records 119,375 total COVID-19 cases throughout the course of the pandemic, showcasing a seven-day average of 1,726.1 cases, per state health department data.
Hospitalizations are also increasing, reaching a record-high number of 58 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 on Oct. 28.