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Minor COVID Outbreak Follows DNC Event in South Carolina

December 23, 2021 by Dan McCue
Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo by Dan McCue)

CHARLESTON, S.C. — There was a minor COVID outbreak among attendees of a State Democratic Committee event held in downtown Charleston earlier this month.

The event, co-hosted by the Association of State Democratic Committees and the Democratic National Committee featured a series of meetings that ran from Tuesday, Dec. 14 through Saturday, Dec. 18.

It was the group’s first in-person meeting since South Carolina native Jaime Harrison was elected DNC chairman earlier this year, and much of the talk and training that took place revolved around preparing for the upcoming 2022 midterm elections.

In the wake of the event, however, about 5% of the nearly 300 attendees have tested positive for COVID-19, a source familiar with the situation said.

“I’m not sure if it’s the omicron variant or not, but frankly, it doesn’t really matter in terms of how we respond,” the source said.

All attendees were required to be fully vaccinated to attend, and had to sign forms upon their arrival confirming their vaccination status. In addition, masks were required indoors at all times and events were held outside whenever possible. 

Harrison himself spoke at the event on Dec. 17 and did so while maintaining a distance of six feet away from the nearest attendee as he stood at a podium and remained fully masked in front of a crowd of about 70 people. 

Harrison has since tested negative for COVID, a party official said.

“As soon as positive cases were detected a notification went out to all members, and those who were determined to have come into close contact [with those infected] through contact tracing were notified,” the source said.

So far, those reviewing how the COVID infections may have occurred say no real trend has emerged.

“As I’m sure you know, it’s very hard to determine an origin point [when an outbreak occurs] and ASDC’s focus was on keeping people safe,” our source said.

All those who have tested positive for COVID since the event have been encouraged to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

Those informed they may have come in close contact with one or more of these individuals were also advised to take additional steps out of an abundance of caution.

These include: 

Isolating until you receive a negative test result (with the DNC strongly recommending PCR testing as it is the most reliable method of testing).

Wearing a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days after the date you may have been exposed.

Consider wearing a mask at home for 14 days if you live with someone who is immunocompromised.

Attendees were also advised to monitor themselves for COVID-19 symptoms for 14 days from potential exposure and to isolate themselves if they developed symptoms. 

Symptoms of COVID include: fever (subjective or 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit), chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, or otherwise feeling unwell. 

Dan can be reached at dan@thewellnews.com and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue.

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