The opening party for a rural Illinois bar led to 46 COVID-19 cases, the hospitalization of a nursing home resident and the closure of a school that kept 650 children out of class
- A bar in rural Illinois held an opening party indoors, where attendees often did not wear masks or practice social aloofness
- Within two weeks, 26 people attending the event and three employees tested positive for COVID-19
- Of the 71 close contacts, 17 also tested positive within 14 days of contacts, for a total of 46 cases related to the party
- Two of the close contact cases were student athletes, forcing a school to suspend in-person classes for two weeks
- Three of the close contact cases were among nursing home staff and residents, including one hospitalized after a positive test
An opening party for a bar in rural Illinois led to a coronavirus outbreak, a hospital resident of a nursing home and a school shutdown, a new report finds.
At least 46 people attending the party, or close contacts of those who did, tested positive for COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed Monday.
Two of the secondary cases involved student athletes, leading the school to suspend in-person classes for two weeks because teachers were unable to work due to isolation.
The report is a cautionary tale that serves to warn companies to continue enforcing mask regulations and social distance rules as states begin to ease restrictions.
A bar in rural Illinois held an indoor opening party, where visitors often did not wear masks or practice social aloofness (file image)
Within two weeks, 26 people attending the event and three staff members had tested positive for COVID-19, along with 17 close contacts – including two student athletes and a resident of a long-term care hospital – for a total of 46 cases related to the party
For the report, published in the CDC’s weekly MMWR report, the team looked at an opening event held indoors in early February 2021 in front of a rural Illinois bar.
It is not known how many people attended the event, but the space can accommodate about 100 people and six employees were at work that day.
Visitors said there was inconsistent mask use and people often did not keep a distance of six feet or more.
On Feb. 17, the Illinois Department of Health received a report of a possible outbreak related to the event.
Of those who attended the event, 26 attendees tested positive for the coronavirus, as well as three staff members.
At least four people who were later confirmed to have COVID-19 said they had symptoms the day they went to the bar. and an asymptomatic participant was diagnosed with disease the day before the event.
According to the report, those in attendance were in close contact with at least 71 people who were not at the bar.
Of that group, 37 people were tested for COVID-19 and 17 were confirmed to be positive within 14 days of contact.
Two of the close contacts were student athletes who attended indoor sports drills and in-person classes and were later diagnosed with coronavirus.
In the week of February 18, the school – which has 650 children – was closed for two weeks because 13 staff members were in isolation, quarantined or absent because their own child had been quarantined because of the two athletes.
In addition, three of the contacts were residents of a long-term care facility or staff members who were infected because one of the bargoers was working as a licensed nursing assistant in the facility.
He or she was asymptomatic and tested positive during routine COVID-19 testing at the center four days after the event.
One of the residents was hospitalized after a positive test, but was discharged the same day.
The CDC said the county had a seven-day moving average of 41 to 42 cases per 100,000 people before the event.
Just 14 days after the event, the incidence more than doubled to a seven-day moving average of 86 to 87 cases per 100,000 people.
“Bars may play a role in the spread of COVID-19 in the community because of the limited use of masks while eating or drinking and the lack of consistent physical distance,” the report’s authors wrote.
“These findings show that SARS-CoV transmission from a business such as a cafe affects not only the bar’s customers and employees, but also an entire community.”