A minimum of 28 vaccinated individuals in Marin County have examined optimistic for the coronavirus after attending a vacation gathering at a restaurant.
Public well being officers consider the outbreak includes the extremely infectious Omicron variant, which has turn into the dominant strain of the virus in the USA after sweeping throughout the nation the final a number of days.
Marin County public well being officers mentioned attendees on the Dec. 11 indoor gathering weren’t required to put on face masks as a result of a statewide indoor mask mandate prompted by Omicron had not but taken impact, and since the friends had been eating.
However the hosts had insisted that every one friends be vaccinated and supply a proof of a unfavorable at-home COVID-19 take a look at the day of the occasion, in line with Marin County Public Well being Officer Dr. Matt Willis. Most of the friends had additionally obtained booster pictures.
The organizers of the gathering did every part proper, Willis mentioned Wednesday, and there was no single issue that led to the outbreak.
“This can be a glimpse into the way in which Omicron behaves,” he mentioned. “This sort of outbreak isn’t going to really feel like information quickly.”
The gathering happened at Farm Home Native, a restaurant in Larkspur. Restaurant proprietor David Monson mentioned Wednesday that there have been 65 friends and 6 workers. One worker examined optimistic and is quarantining at house.
Monson mentioned that in practically two years of working eating places through the COVID-19 pandemic, he hasn’t seen something “remotely as transmissible” because the Omicron variant.
“Whether or not you’re on the restaurant, at Costco, on the grocery store — for God’s sake, no matter you’re doing — it’s a extremely transmissible virus,” he mentioned. “You are able to do all of the issues that you simply’re presupposed to do, and on the finish of the day, you could get it anyway.”
The couple who hosted the occasion, Mike and Eliza Koeppel, informed the Marin Independent Journal that they adopted steerage from the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention, together with steerage that mentioned vacation events had been secure for many who are vaccinated.
The couple didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark Wednesday, however Eliza Koeppel informed the Journal they “really feel horrible about what occurred. It’s simply the worst nightmare.”
Omicron has rattled the Golden State in current days, with public well being officers issuing pressing warnings in regards to the variant’s fast fee of transmission and dire outlooks for unvaccinated pockets of the state.
A number of vacation occasions in Los Angeles County — together with the Grand Park New Year’s Eve countdown — have been canceled or transitioned to virtual-only occasions amid swelling case numbers.
COVID-19 instances in Los Angeles County are up 34% from two weeks in the past, in line with The Times’ coronavirus tracker.
However public well being officers, together with Dr. Anthony Fauci, have continued to emphasize that vaccinated individuals, and significantly boosted individuals, are essentially the most shielded from an infection and can doubtless have a light case in the event that they do get contaminated. The unvaccinated stay on the highest danger of hospitalization and demise.
The general public who examined optimistic after the vacation gathering in Marin have had minimal to no signs, and none have required hospitalization, county Well being and Human Providers spokeswoman Laine Hendricks mentioned Wednesday.
“That they had much less extreme outcomes than if they’d forgone the vaccine altogether,” she mentioned.
Willis mentioned the county is conducting genome sequencing on a subset of the occasion attendees, however he’s practically sure the instances are tied to Omicron based mostly on how rapidly the virus moved via the absolutely vaccinated group.
Marin is seeing Omicron in its wastewater, he added, and the variant is rapidly growing in prevalence throughout the Bay Space.
Public well being officers say Omicron is more likely to cause breakthrough infections than previous variants.
In a video update about Omicron this week, Willis mentioned Marin has one of many highest vaccination charges within the nation. Greater than 83% of the county’s residents are thought of absolutely vaccinated, in contrast with about 67% of residents statewide, in line with The Times’ vaccination tracker.
“If now we have one asset as a group, it’s excessive vaccination charges,” he mentioned. “It has helped us via each stage of this pandemic so far — it has been our singular greatest technique.
“However,” he added, “we’re not there but. We can not relaxation on these laurels, as a result of not sufficient of us but have that full stage of safety vital to actually defend us towards Omicron.”
Consultants say booster pictures assist rev up antibody levels that naturally drop over time and might help combat Omicron, with current research discovering 25-fold enhancements from Pfizer’s further shot and 37-fold improvements from Moderna’s.
Monson, the restaurant proprietor, mentioned he felt some hesitation about internet hosting the occasion however was appeased by the security measures. He already had to surrender one in every of his two eating places through the pandemic.
“Everyone needs to know the reply, and for me the straightforward reply is, there isn’t a solution,” he mentioned in regards to the outbreak. “You do every part you may. Everyone adopted all of the protocols, all people did what they had been presupposed to do. And look, it occurred. It’s tremendous transmissible.”