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Images of a pool party in Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks over Memorial Day weekend had people around the world concerned about a possible coronavirus outbreak due to the wildly apparent lack of social distancing among revelers.
Local officials confirmed Friday that those fears were warranted.
One of those who attended the packed festivities at Backwater Jacks Bar and Grill has tested positive for COVID-19, the Camden County Health Department said Friday in a press release.
The person from Boone County arrived at the Lake of the Ozarks on Saturday, May 23, of the holiday weekend and attended the pool party that evening and again on Sunday, May 24. They also dined at a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant that day.
The health department said the individual began showing symptoms of the coronavirus later that same day.
Because of this, they warned the person “was likely incubating illness and possibly infectious at the time of the visit.”
People who attended the party or any of the other venues were warned to monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19: fever, cough, shortness of breath, body aches, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or a loss of taste or smell.
Missouri health officials said Saturday that there have been 12,962 cases of COVID-19 in the state and 771 deaths.
Organizers for the party, called “Zero Ducks Given,” had said there would be extra precautions put in place, including reduced capacity, temperature screening, and extra sanitizing.
But social media pictures made clear that there were too many partygoers present to maintain a distance of six feet.
Gary D. Prewitt, the owner of Backwater Jacks Bar and Grill, posted a statement on Facebook on Saturday, saying “it was inevitable that we would experience carriers of the virus, symptomatic or asymptomatic,” due to the large crowds.
“This will continue throughout our season,” he said. “Unfortunately, the virus will be part of our lives for the unseen future.”
Prewitt said the venue would take “additional precautions” over the summer to try to reduce the risk of infection among patrons.
“However,” he said, “we believe each of our customers should have the freedom to choose whether they want to visit Backwater Jacks or not.”
One attendee, Tyler Crancer, told BuzzFeed News last weekend he and his girlfriend drank White Claw, the popular hard seltzer, at the crowded bars and struggled to keep a distance from other partygoers.
“Now that I think about it, probably not a great idea, but there [is] no law when you’re drinking the Claw,” he said.