A 13-year-old girl transmitted COVID-19 to 11 relatives, including several from suburban Cook County, during a three-week family vacation at a shared house this summer, according to local health officials and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC released detailed findings of the case in an online report Friday, emphasizing the outbreak highlights several important issues, including that children and adolescents can efficiently transmit SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
The teenage girl was exposed to the virus during a large outbreak in June 2020, and because of her exposure, she sought testing after returning home, according to the CDC.
A rapid antigen test performed four days after exposure, when the teen was asymptomatic, was negative. Two days later, the 13-year-old experienced nasal congestion, her only symptom of the virus. That same day, she, her parents, and two brothers traveled to a gathering with 15 other relatives.
It’s not known if the girl and her immediate family members are from Cook County.
A total of 14 relatives from four states, including the patient, stayed in a five-bedroom, two-bathroom house for 8–25 days and did not wear face masks or practice physical distancing.
An additional six relatives visited on two occasions, one of which was when six individuals staying in the home were potentially infectious. The six visiting relatives maintained physical distance and remained outdoors, but did not wear face masks.
Of those who stayed in the house, 12 individuals, including the teen girl, were found to have COVID-19.
One person who contracted the coronavirus was hospitalized and another sought emergency department care for respiratory symptoms; both recovered, officials said. None of the six relatives who remained outdoors and maintained physical distance developed symptoms.
The Cook County Department of Public Health confirmed that several individuals involved were from suburban Cook County, but didn’t provide additional information, citing privacy concerns.
County health officials that the community is not at risk as a result of the cases.
According to the CDC, the investigation of the case provides evidence of the benefit of physical distancing as a strategy to prevent the virus.
The situation also reinforces the recommendation that person should self-quarantine for 14 days after a known exposure or after travel when mandated by local authorities.
While the CDC didn’t say where the gathering took place or which states the family members resided in, a footnote in the article cites the Rhode Island Department of Health, the Georgia Department of Health, the Cook County Department of Public Health and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.