Oregon family reunion leads to COVID-19 outbreak, even among vaccinated

Oregon family reunion leads to COVID-19 outbreak, even among vaccinated

“People need to be masking up and people need to take our safety seriously,” Marienburg warned. In all, Marienburg said, 21 family members either tested positive for COVID-19 or showed symptoms of the virus. Thirteen of those family members were fully vaccinated, meaning, they had what doctors call breakthrough cases. Wearing masks in indoor public spaces is a recommendation echoed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as state health officials. New data from the CDC show the delta variant is twice as infectious and more likely to cause breakthrough cases.

Two days after the reunion ended, Marienburg said, a cousin texted family members that she felt sick before testing positive for COVID-19. “We had a great time,” said Marienburg. “It was so nice, we were all hugging each other because it’s been so long.”

“It sort of snowballed and we got text messages from other people in the family who actually tested positive,” said Marienburg. “It was like one of those stories you hear on the news — like, it just seemed not real. It didn’t seem true.” She and 28 other family members from around the country stayed in Sunriver for 10 days in late June. Most of the family members were fully vaccinated and Marienburg said no one wore masks.

“So if they had not been vaccinated,” said Marienburg, “I’m not sure that they would still be alive.” Marienburg, who did not get COVID, thinks of her mom, who has underlying health conditions. A few other family members who got COVID during the reunion also have underlying conditions. Despite being vaccinated, Marienburg said, those family members still spent time in the hospital.

Sidelinger said besides wearing masks, it’s more important now than ever to get vaccinated, as the vaccine may lessen the severity of breakthrough cases. “So all of this science, all of this data that we’re just now learning, is forming the basis of the recommendations that we’re making now — that everyone in indoor settings should wear a mask,” said Oregon’s state health officer, Dr. Dean Sidelinger.

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