CDC issued warnings to event attendees who tested positive for COVID
Approximately 1,800 individuals physically gathered at the annual Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Conference this year, which took place from April 24 to 27 at a hotel conference venue in Atlanta, where the headquarters of the CDC is situated.
This marked the first instance of in-person attendance at the conference since 2019. Additionally, the CDC estimated in a press release that an additional 400 people participated virtually.
Towards the end of the event, several individuals who had attended in person reported testing positive for COVID-19. Consequently, the conference organizers issued warnings to the attendees and implemented changes to minimize the potential for further transmission.
These measures included the cancellation of an in-person training session and providing extended hotel stays for those who were ill and needed to isolate.
However, in the subsequent days, the CDC received additional reports of COVID-19 cases associated with the conference. To address this situation, the CDC collaborated with the Georgia Department of Public Health to conduct a rapid assessment. By May 2, the agency had identified a total of 35 cases linked to the conference.
The rapid assessment team conducted a survey of conference attendees from May 5 to 12, receiving responses from 1,443 individuals, according to the report.
Key findings from conference survey: COVID-19 cases, vaccination rates, and mask-wearing
In total, 181 individuals, representing approximately 13 percent of the survey participants, reported testing positive for COVID-19. Among those who tested positive, 52 percent mentioned that it was their first known experience with the virus.
Almost all of the survey respondents, 1,435 individuals (about 99.4 percent), stated that they had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. However, 70 percent of the survey takers admitted to not wearing masks during the gathering.
It is important to note that the conference took place when transmission rates were low, and the CDC did not recommend wearing masks during such periods.
The CDC emphasized that none of the conference attendees who contracted COVID-19 required hospitalization. However, 49 respondents reported using antiviral medications to treat their infection.
“[T]he findings of this rapid assessment support previous data that demonstrate that COVID-19 vaccines, antiviral treatments, and immunity from previous infection continue to provide people with protection against serious illness,” the agency wrote.