CHICAGO — The Chicago Department of Public Health is again urging Chicagoans to stop throwing parties during the coronavirus pandemic, pointing to a pool party that infected 13 people who then spread COVID-19 to at least six others.
The party was held in Chicago in August, said Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady. It attracted mostly high school students, including students from four schools.
Within four days of the party, people began testing positive for coronavirus. Within 10 days, 13 people from the party were positive, with an average age of 17.5 years old.
Some of those people are believed to have spread the virus to others, including school teammates, people in their car pools and, in one case, to a brother.
None of the 19 people infected became seriously ill or needed to be hospitalized. But Arwady said the party was an example of coronavirus-spreading gatherings health officials continue to see.
“This is not a dramatic thing,” she said. “This is the sort of thing that we are regularly seeing, where people are getting together with friends and with families and with neighbors and with extended families.
“We have a lot of COVID here in Chicago. Even now. It is not the time to relax your guard. It is not the time to be getting together unnecessarily with people who are not already in your bubble.”
The health department’s “youth team” of contact tracers pieced together the information from interviews with those infected. The original spreader has not been identified by the tracers, but Arwady said the person was likely asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic at the party.
“Where people are letting down their guard, not wearing masks, perhaps not always social distancing, we sometimes see clustering like this,” she said.
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