Two people have died from Covid-19 and 45 people are ill after a March 10 choir practice in Washington state, health officials said.
Of the some 60 people who attended the Skagit Valley Chorale rehearsal in Mount Vernon, 28 members have confirmed cases of the virus, according to Kayla Schott-Bresler of Skagit County Public Health.
The practice was in full compliance with state guidance at the time, a statement from the group said.
“Please know that this has been an extremely difficult and sad time for chorale members and leadership,” the group said. “Our group feels like a family, so you might imagine our grief.”
There were no known cases of the coronavirus on the day of the rehearsal, the group said.
“There were no closures of schools, restaurants, churches, bowling alleys, banks, libraries, theaters, or any other businesses,” the statement said. “The advice from the State of Washington was to limit gatherings to 250 people.”
The chorale’s board of directors told members not to come if they were showing any signs of illness or if they felt “their health or safety was in jeopardy.”
One member told CNN affiliate KIRO that no one seemed to be ill.
“During the entire rehearsal, no one sneezed, no one coughed, no one there appeared to be sick in any way,” Carolynn Comstock told KIRO.
“So now we know, oh hm, maybe it’s transmitted not just by droplets and sneezes or coughs; maybe it’s transmitted just by people talking, just by people being around each other,” Comstock said. “And then of course, if you’re singing there’s more volume to the talking, deep breathing and more volume.”
The chorale said it’s sharing its story “so that it might personalize this virus for others. Our hope is to encourage everyone to stay home and stay safe.”