illinois coronavirus outbreak

Rural Illinois Bar Opening Prompted Outbreak of 46 COVID Cases, CDC Says

By Feb. 26, 12 people in eight different households had received positive test results, including five school-aged children

NBC 5 News

An outbreak of 46 coronavirus cases that originated at a rural Illinois bar prompted a school closure and the hospitalization of a long-term care facility resident, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced in a report published Monday.

A total of 26 customers and three staff members who attended the bar opening in early February contracted COVID-19, along with 17 people who weren't present at the gathering.

Those who attended reported inconsistent mask use and not maintaining at least six feet of distance, despite table spacing and signs encouraging physical distancing and mask use, the report stated.

The CDC said the event occurred indoors with no outside airflow. A specific location of the bar wasn't provided.

One patron, who came down with a runny nose in the days following the event, reported 26 close contacts at a school during indoor sports practice and in-person instruction. Two student-athletes who were close contacts of this person were diagnosed with COVID-19, officials said.

Another person who was present at the bar worked at a long-term care facility as a certified nursing assistant, and although that person was asymptomatic, they received a positive result during routine COVID-19 testing at the facility.

Three secondary cases, a staff member and two residents, were reported at the facility in the following days, officials said. One of those residents was hospitalized on Feb. 20, within 14 days of the positive test result and was discharged the same day. 

By Feb. 26, 12 people in eight different households had received positive test results, including five school-aged children.

Even as vaccination efforts expand, the CDC stated the findings underscore the importance of businesses and individuals adhering to public health prevention and mitigation guidelines to reduce community transmission.

"These findings show that SARS-CoV-transmission originating in a business such as a bar not only affects the patrons and employees of the bar but can also affect an entire community," according to the report.

Furthermore, with more businesses reopening, health officials said considering additional prevention measures is important, such as limiting building occupancy levels and improving ventilation, especially in locations where mask wearing and physical distancing are difficult to enforce. 

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