Health

Diamond Cabaret Investigated as Possible Source of Monkeypox Exposure

The Diamond Cabaret, at 1222 Glenarm Place, is one of five adult nightclubs in Denver owned by RCI Hospitality Holdings.
The Diamond Cabaret, at 1222 Glenarm Place, is one of five adult nightclubs in Denver owned by RCI Hospitality Holdings. Google Maps
Monkeypox, a viral disease similar to smallpox that can be spread during sex, has been circulating in Colorado since at least late May, when Governor Jared Polis's office revealed the state's first positive case. Now, the Diamond Cabaret at 1222 Glenarm Place, the city's most high-profile adult-entertainment venue, is being monitored by the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment after an employee came down with the disease a few weeks ago.

"DDPHE is currently coordinating with management at Diamond Cabaret following notification of a confirmed case of monkeypox in a staff member in mid-July," notes Tammy Vigil, a communications specialist with the agency. "DDPHE notified all staff members who were identified as potential close contacts of the confirmed case and is working with local health-care providers to arrange vaccination and testing. Management at the Diamond Cabaret has been fully cooperative with DDPHE through this process."

Adds a Diamond Cabaret spokesperson: "We were notified last month by Denver health officials that somebody who attended the club might have been exposed. We fully cooperated with health officials and implemented all their safety procedures. Since then, nothing has been reported back to us."

A monkeypox outbreak has not been declared at the club, which continues to operate as normal. But the chances that other businesses will have to deal with possible exposures grow with each new infection. As of August 2, Vigil points out, "There have been 55 cases of monkeypox in Denver this year."

The Diamond Cabaret is part of metro Denver's largest strip-club empire. In July 2021, Houston-based RCI Hospitality Holdings Inc., which describes itself as "the country's leading company in gentlemen's clubs and sports bars/restaurants," announced that it had acquired eleven adult nightclubs in six states for $88 million, including nine previously controlled by Lakewood-based entrepreneur Troy Lowrie. Five of those are located in the Denver area: the Diamond Cabaret as well as PT's Showclub, 1601 West Evans Avenue; Mile High Men's Club, 4451 East Virginia Avenue; PT's Showclub Centerfold, 3480 South Galena Street; and La Boheme Gentlemen's Cabaret, 1443 Stout Street.

"Monkeypox is primarily spread person-to-person when someone who has monkeypox has close, physical contact with someone else, including physical contact with a sick person’s rash, bumps, or lesions, prolonged face-to-face contact (three hours or more without face covering), intimate physical contact, and touching bed linens, clothing or materials of someone who is sick," Vigil notes.

The incubation period for monkeypox is usually seven to fourteen days, but can range from fewer than five to 21 days. Most people recover within two to four weeks; the virus is seldom fatal.

"Monkeypox can look like herpes, blisters, or even acne, and those who develop a new rash or bumps should get checked by their health-care provider," Vigil advises. "Those in Denver who have a rash they suspect may be monkeypox and do not have a health-care provider or insurance should contact the Denver Sexual Health Clinic at 303-602-3540 to ask about available appointments. CDPHE is hosting a limited number of free vaccine clinics for eligible Coloradans who meet the criteria. Those who are eligible and think they need a vaccine can request a vaccine appointment using this form. Appointment requests will be made available based on the extremely limited vaccine allotment from the federal government."

The DDPHE is currently working with the state health department to investigate the 55 Denver monkeypox cases to date, as well as to "notify close contacts of people who might be exposed," Vigil says.

More information about the disease can be found on the DDPHE's monkeypox web page.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts