Hundreds of teens were exposed to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) after attending a party in Texas, and several have now tested positive.
The Austin Public Health Department said in a statement that some of the nearly 300 attendees were waiting on test results, but attended the party anyway — and have now learned that their tests were positive.
"The virus often hides in the healthy and is given to those who are at grave risk of being hospitalized or dying," the department's statement said. "While younger people have less risk for complications, they are not immune to severe illness and death from COVID-19."
The department also encouraged people to continue taking safety precautions, even if they have not contracted the contagious respiratory virus.
"Since we are in a period of significant community spread, our entire community should act as if they have been exposed and take the proper precautions to further prevent spread," the statement said.
Among the recommended precautions, officials say to get tested, but not to wait for the results before self-isolating.
Social distancing, wearing a face mask in public and washing hands often are all strongly encouraged by health experts to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
On Thursday, Lakeway Mayor Sandy Cox spoke about the gathering in a Facebook Live session, saying that the city is currently experiencing the highest number of positive cases since the pandemic began, with 50 active cases.
"Unfortunately, our case load is probably going to increase, and it's because there was a very large party this past Saturday [June 20], and it was with a number of high school students, and there were students in attendance that were positive for COVID-19," Cox said, adding that the party was called "pong fest."
"We need anyone that went to that party to isolate for 14 days," Cox said, urging anyone experiencing symptoms to get tested.
Texas is one of several states experiencing a sharp spike in positive COVID-19 cases in recent weeks. As of Wednesday, the state has at least 174,775 cases and 2,518 deaths related to the virus. Travis County, where the party was held, has had at least 10,124 positive cases and 128 related deaths, according to data from the New York Times.
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