At least 140 people were infected with Covid-19 after Christmas party in Oslo
The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) have released preliminary findings of their investigations into an Oslo Christmas party which caused widespread Covid infections. It is assumed that most of the 140 confirmed cases are infected with Omicron.
The Christmas party held by the renewable power company Scatec on Friday November 26 had around 120 guests. In addition, the owner of the restaurant estimates that around 400-500 other guests were in the restaurant that night, according to Norwegian national newspaper VG.
That adds up to between 500 – 620 people spending time in the restaurant that night.
At least 140 of these have been infected with Covid-19, according to the NIPH. 17 cases are confirmed as Omicron, but the NIPH write in a press release that they assume that most of the cases are infected with this variant of the virus.
All of the guests at the Christmas party were fully vaccinated with two doses of an mRNA vaccine. They were between 30 and 50 years old and had received their vaccines between May and November 2021.
Prior to the party, they had all been asked to take a rapid antigen test. All reported that their tests (PCR or RAT) were negative.
The NIPH, in collaboration with Oslo municipality, have interviewed 95 per cent of the guests at the party.
The preliminary analysis shows that:
- 111 participants at the Christmas party were interviewed. 73 per cent, or 80 people, had confirmed Covid-19 after the party. Out of these, 17 are confirmed to be infected with omicron. Analysis of the remaining tests are ongoing, and it is assumed that most of those who are ill, have been infected with omicron.
- All of the infected people save for one person, report symptoms following their infection. Most of them experienced symptoms about three days after the Christmas party.
- More than 70 per cent of the patients report cough, tiredness, headache and sore throats, and more than half had a fever. There are no reports of hospitalizations.
- Eight people reported that they had travelled abroad in the two weeks prior to the Christmas party, to various countries in Africa and Europe.
- In addition, there are confirmed cases of Covid in more than 60 people who were at the restaurant on the same night as the Christmas party.
These numbers may change as investigations are ongoing.
MORE ON THIS OUTBREAK:
- Not a single person has been hospitalized after massive Oslo Christmas party Omicron outbreak
- Oslo Christmas party outbreak: Most of the non-infected were vaccinated with Moderna
Difficult to comment on severity of disease
“The preliminary results from the study show that there was widespread transmission at this event, even though the vast majority of participants were vaccinated with two doses of an mRNA vaccine”, the NIPH write in their press release.
The institute highlights that it is well-known that situations where many people gather indoors, give a high risk of transmission. In this instance there would also have been singing, high noise and loud talking, which increases the risk.
Finally, the NIPH writes that the omicron variant may have increased transmissibility and thus contributed to further spread.
“Even though most of the cases have not had a severe disease course at this time, almost all developed symptoms relatively quickly after the Christmas party. The attendees were young and fully vaccinated and would not typically develop serious illness after SARS-CoV-2 infection. It is therefore difficult to comment on the severity of the disease with this variant based on these preliminary results”, the NIPH writes.
Not possible to stop
Tine Ravlo, assistant chief infection controller in Oslo's Frogner district, said to VG a few days ago that it most likely will not be possible to stop the spread from the outbreak.
"We probably won't be able to entirely stop the spread, but we are trying to put the breaks on. We must follow the law, which gives us the opportunity to quarantine some close contacts and demand compulsory testing from other contacts. We are quarantining as many as we possibly can", Ravlo said.
Update on December 16: A preliminary paper on this research has now been made available Outbreak caused by the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant in Norway, November to December 2021