Over Memorial Day weekend, photos and videos emerged showing hundreds of people packed into bars, restaurants, and pools around the lake, a popular regional resort destination about 175 miles west of St. Louis. In some cases, signs could be seen asking customers to maintain a distance of 6 feet apart. However, those signs appear to have been largely ignored.
The photos and videos went viral on social media, sparking ire in some Missouri politicians.
Now, a week later, one of the people who was known to be in attendance at one of those parties has tested positive for the coronavirus.
The unidentified person, a resident of Boone County, arrived in the area on Saturday, May 23 and “developed illness” the next day. The person “was likely incubating illness and possibly infectious at the time of the visit,” according to the Boone County Health Department.
Boone County is roughly halfway between St. Louis and Kansas City, and includes the city of Columbia, a college town of approximately 123,000 people.
County officials pieced together the possible points of contact the person may have had with other individuals. On Saturday, he or she spent approximately 4 hours at Backwater Jack’s, the business with the crowded pool featured in many of the viral videos and photos that emerged from the region last weekend. He or she then spent much of Saturday night at another bar, before returning to Backwater Jack’s. On Sunday, the person spent part of the afternoon at Buffalo Wild Wings, then returned to Backwater Jack’s for several hours, and finally took a cab to a private residence.
As The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported, Missouri Governor Mike Parson called for personal responsibility at a Friday news conference.
“I don’t know what you do. The reality is, at some point, people have to be responsible for their actions.”
As of this writing, there are no new coronavirus cases in Camden County, the jurisdiction that includes the lake and the towns nestled on its shores. In Boone County, 25 new coronavirus cases were reported last week, according to The Columbia Missourian, although it’s unclear how many of those cases are tied to the Lake of the Ozarks parties.
Elsewhere in Missouri, as reported by The Inquisitr, multiple hair salons in and around Springfield have been closed until further notice due to threats the businesses received. At least two employees affiliated with the salons are believed to have worked while actively infected with the coronavirus, possibly exposing as many as 140 people to the pathogen.