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Washington state poker night linked to nearly 100 COVID-19 cases

Washington state poker night linked to nearly 100 COVID-19 cases
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An event held by a Washington state-area Eagle's Club is being blamed for nearly 100 cases of COVID-19 in the community that cropped up in the weeks since it took place.

Local news affiliate KREM reported that 95 confirmed COVID-19 cases have been linked to the Republic, Wash., Eagle's Club event held on April 9, which Facebook posts described as a dinner and poker night for new members of the town's Eagle's Club.

The organization confirmed on Facebook days after the event that one attendee had tested positive for the virus, and urged others to take precautions as they saw fit. Some attendees apparently told KREM that the event was held specifically in protest of the state's COVID-19 guidelines.

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"We've just been notified that a member who was here last Friday evening, has tested positive for COVID — we wanted you to be aware, so that you can take any precautions you feel are necessary and know that we are doing the same," wrote the Eagle's Club on Facebook.

Health officials told KREM that the event had led to a spike in hospitalizations at a time when hospitals in the state are already stressed due to existing COVID-19 cases.

“There's 95 people that have tested positive since that event,” Northeast Tri-County Health District Administrator Matt Schanz told the news station. “And the vast majority have had some kind of exposure to that event, either by attendance, or by a secondary exposure. They're continuing to test … even today, they're continuing to be tested.”

“Just because the amount of people that were showing up symptomatic, to get tested had spiked significantly,” added another health department official, Sam Artzis. “And we were already seeing people showing up at the hospital within that first week, which we hadn't seen for several weeks to months prior to that."

Washington state is currently experiencing rising rates of COVID-19 infections after seeing a surge that occurred over the fall and winter begin to taper off in January.