73 COVID-19 cases traced to a few Fourth of July parties in Lake Zurich
Health department officials said 73 people have now tested positive for COVID-19 as part of the Lake Zurich-area outbreak that led to the cancellation of sports camps at Lake Zurich High School earlier this month.
Health department spokeswoman Hannah Goering said Monday it appears the cases are linked together by a number of social gatherings leading up to the Fourth of July. That determination was made after a department investigation and contact tracing.
Goering said the 73 people include students and residents from Lake Zurich as well as some people from surrounding villages.
"This wasn't just from one rager of a party," Goering said. "We're looking at smaller social gatherings as the culprit."
Dr. Sana Ahmed, medical epidemiologist at the Lake County Health Department, said it was substantial that so many cases can be traced back to just a few social gatherings.
"This outbreak highlights the importance and necessity of simple precautions like masking and social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the community," Ahmed said.
Goering advised people who intend to meet up at even small gatherings to check ahead of time and make sure everyone in attendance plans to wear masks and keep their distance.
"If you're seeing friends and not taking precautions it has the potential to grow rapidly," Goering said. "Thinking ahead is important."
Health department officials have stressed that people of any age can get COVID-19. Younger people typically have fewer, if any, symptoms, but they can easily spread the virus to someone who is higher risk.
Lake Zurich High officials opened and then closed summer sports camps the week after the Fourth of July after learning that some students had tested positive for COVID-19. The number of positive tests has grown since then, but Goering said the exposures most likely occurred before the camps began.
Health department officials hosted two free COVID-19 mobile testing events in the Lake Zurich area .