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Illinois bar linked to 46 COVID-19 cases, school closure: CDC

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Masks and removal were not maintained at an event, the CDC said.

An indoor opening event at a rural Illinois bar in February led to 46 COVID-1

9 infections, a school closure and the admission of a resident to a long-term care facility, according to a report released Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The agency looked at the incident in the unidentified company, which had a maximum capacity of 100 people. Illinois began reopening indoor bars and restaurants for customers in late January with strict capacity limits and other health protocols.

Although the CDC report said the agency did not count how many people attended the bar reopening, which took place around Feb. 3, four people had COVID-19-like symptoms the same day they were present.

The bar had no airflow from the outside, and consistent mask use and social distance were not maintained, according to the report.

Two weeks after the reopening, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported a consistent outbreak that had serious consequences for others.

The report said 26 patrons and three employees who attended the opening event had contracts with COVID-19. There were 17 secondary cases linked to the bar, including a dozen cases in eight households with children, according to the CDC.

None of these cases resulted in hospitalizations, according to the report.

Two secondary cases were by persons on a school sports team, and three cases were in a long-term care facility (LTCF), according to the report.

“Transmission in connection with the opening event resulted in a school closure affecting 650 children (9,100 lost weekdays at school) and the admission of an LTCF resident with COVID-19,” the report said.

CDC researchers warned that “the number of cases described in this report is likely to be lower than the actual number of bar participants and secondary cases associated with the event.”

The agency stressed that companies must comply with masking mandates, phased-in capacity expansions and proper ventilation when reopening in the coming months.

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