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Hundreds of teens exposed to coronavirus after attending Texas party, mayor confirms

Around 300 high school students were exposed to COVID-19 after attending 'Pongfest' in Texas on June 20.
Around 300 high school students were exposed to COVID-19 after attending 'Pongfest' in Texas on June 20. File / Getty Images

Hundreds of teenagers were exposed to the novel coronavirus at a massive party in Texas, Austin Public Health authorities say.

On June 20, around 300 high school students partied at Pongfest in Lakeway, a posh lakeside suburb in central Texas hills, Mayor Sandy Cox confirmed in a Facebook live video.

Pongfest, per KVUE-TV, is an annual beer pong tournament.

“They start planning it early in the year, there’s a small committee of people who know everything about it,” Lakeway resident Aly Kotal told the broadcast station.

“They sell wristbands and everything and it’s apparently only four or five hours [before] that the location is released.”

Read more: 18 family members test positive for COVID-19 following birthday party in Texas

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At the time of the party, some of the attendees were awaiting test results for COVID-19. Some who attended the party have since tested positive for the virus, Austin Public Health said Friday in a statement, the Associated Press reports.

“The virus often hides in the healthy and is given to those who are at grave risk of being hospitalized and dying,” the health officials said. “While younger people are at less risk for complications, they are not immune to severe illness and death from COVID-19.”

Coronavirus: COVID-19 teen survivor has a message for young people – pay attention
Coronavirus: COVID-19 teen survivor has a message for young people – pay attention

Cox said in the Facebook Live announcement that anyone who attended the party should self-isolate and disclose their participation if contacted by contact tracers. The incident is being investigated by Austin contact tracers.

“Unfortunately, our caseload is very probably going to increase, and it’s because there was a very large party this past Saturday, and it was with a number of high school students, and there were students in attendance that were positive for COVID-19,” Cox said.

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A temporary testing site has been set up at the Baylor School & White Specialty Clinic-Lakeway in an effort to help partygoers and those they interacted with to get tested, per CNN.

Read more: Family patriarch dies, 28 relatives test positive for coronavirus after ‘minimal contact’

Texas has experienced a sharp spike in confirmed COVID-19 cases recently. By Thursday, the state had more than 172,000 confirmed cases.

— With files from the Associated Press.

meaghan.wray@globalnews.ca