The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reportedly investigating a COVID-19 outbreak linked to the health agency’s annual conference held in Atlanta late last month.
As of Tuesday, 35 people who attended this year’s Epidemic Intelligence Service conference have tested positive for COVID-19, the CDC told HuffPost.
The CDC and Georgia health officials were conducting “a rapid epidemiological assessment of confirmed COVID-19 cases” linked to the conference “to determine transmission patterns in this phase of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the agency said in an email.
“Whenever there are large gatherings, especially indoors, such as at a conference, there is the possibility of COVID-19 spread, even in periods of low community spread,” the CDC added.
People who were at the conference told The Washington Post public health guidelines recommended by health officials earlier in the pandemic, including wearing masks and maintaining social distance, weren’t followed.
The EIS conference took place in Georgia from April 24 to 27, and it was the first time in four years that the event was held in-person.
The event offers an opportunity for public health officials to gather and hear about scientific investigations and developments made by EIS officers to drive improvements in the field.
As of Tuesday, the CDC recorded a weekly total of 88,330 COVID-19 cases and a weekly total of 1,052 COVID-related deaths.
While those figures are much lower than at the height of the pandemic, officials have warned that the real number of cases may be higher as fewer Americans get tested and not all report their results to health authorities.
The Biden administration is set to lift most remaining COVID-19 rules next week, including vaccination requirements for international travelers, when the national public health emergency will expire.