Cluster of COVID-19 cases linked to high school graduation parties in Mequon Thiensville

Posted at 10:31 PM, Aug 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-05 23:54:09-04

MEQUON — A new cluster of coronavirus cases in the Mequon-Thiensville area is tied to a group of teens who just graduated high school.

This week, contact tracers with the Washington Ozaukee Health Department noticed a sudden spike in cases among people the same age, in the same zip code. They found they had all recently attended high school graduation parties.

“There’s risk in attending these events and we are seeing that in real-time,” said Health Officer Kirsten Johnson, with the Washington Ozaukee Health Department.

Johnson says 11 teenagers who tested positive for COVID-19 this week, all went to the same graduation parties in Mequon-Thiensville, specifically the 53092 zip code.

In one instance, an individual attended three separate social gatherings while symptomatic, before testing positive.

“One of the challenges has been contact tracing,” Johnson said. “People are not very forthcoming. When asked if they’d been anywhere, they said they hadn’t. Then we called back, and were able to trace back to graduation parties.”

These parties aren’t necessarily a secret among young people.

“I have heard a lot of people still having graduation parties, despite the risk,” said Mikayla Wankowski, 19.

“I think a lot of people too, are like we’re younger, we’ll be fine,” said Tatum Crampton, 21. “It’s not really about that. The more careless you are, the more it’s going to spread.

Johnson says young adults are now the fastest growing COVID-19 population that the Washington Ozaukee Health Department is tracking.

“I spend a lot of time caring for my grandparents, so it’s a big concern for me,” Wankowski said.

“I’m not surprised,” Crampton said. “Hopefully, this will be somewhat of a wake-up call for people to begin to follow what we should all be doing.”

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