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CDC: Illinois bar opening linked to outbreak, school closure

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(WSIL/CNN) -- The newest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) weekly morbidity and mortality report shows how far COVID-19 can spread from a single event.

According to the report, a February 2021 bar opening, in a rural Illinois county, was linked to 46 known COVID-19 cases. The Douglas County Department of Public Health confirms the bar was located inside the county.

DCHD Administrator Amanda Minor noted, “Through the hard work of our dedicated employees as well as the cooperation of the bar and its employees, further spread of the outbreak was prevented.”

The health department said once the outbreak was identified the IDPH was notified and contact tracing began immediately.

Those cases resulted in the shutdown of a school impacting 650 children and the hospitalization of a long-term care facility resident.

At least 17 of the confirmed cases were among people who were NOT at the bar.

Click here to read the full report.

The seven-day average of COVID-19 cases in the county more than doubled to 86 cases per 100-thousand people two weeks after the event.

People at the Douglas County bar say attendees did not all wear masks or distance from each other.

The CDC believes the actual number of cases linked to the event is even higher than reported.

The report concluded saying, "Bars can play a role in community spread of COVID-19 because of limited mask use while eating or drinking and lack of consistent physical distancing. These findings show that COVID-19 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. As community businesses begin to reopen, considering additional prevention measures is important, such as limiting building occupancy levels and improving ventilation, especially in locations where consistent and correct mask wearing and physical distancing are difficult to enforce." 

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