CALGARY -- Attendees of a Canada Day party in Calgary who became infected with COVID-19 say the virus "spread like wildfire,” affecting more than a dozen people — about half of those invited.

“At the time the numbers were still pretty low in Alberta but we quickly learned that was a mistake because obviously it just takes one person to spread it,” said Bryson Montgomery, one of the party-goers who developed symptoms and tested positive for COVID-19 a few days after the July 1 event.

“It just spread like wildfire among our friends.”

Montgomery didn’t specify where the barbecue took place in Calgary, only that people mingled both indoors and outdoors.

Those who spent most of the party outside did not develop symptoms, whereas those who spent more than an hour with people inside became sick.

He said guests were not wearing masks and didn’t keep two metres distance from one another.

“Obviously we let our guard down a little bit, we didn’t think we were at any risk," he said.

Another person who was at the gathering said she developed symptoms but tested negative after a nasal and throat swab. Regardless, she self-isolated as a precaution.

“I’m not the only one from that particular event, there’s at least two or three of us that were sick, had the same symptoms, the same timeline and we’re not testing positive for whatever reason,” Tamara Burton said.

Her doctor and other health professionals encouraged her to behave as though she had tested positive to COVID-19 to help contain further spread.

“There’s fatigue. People (were) getting frustrated being stuck at home and I think we were experiencing that too. We put at a lot of people at risk,” said Burton. “We’re just like anybody else, this could have happened in a group of five people.”

Now, feeling better after recovering from the coronavirus, Montgomery is warning others of how easily the virus can spread.

“It’s a lot more out there than we think right now," he said.