• As of Tuesday, 35 people are confirmed to have tested positive
  • Attendees have received an email about the potential exposure
  • The majority of the U.S. has had "low" COVID-19 community levels

The U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reportedly investigating a cluster of COVID-19 cases — this time linked to its own conference.

Some 35 people have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Tuesday, CDC spokesperson Kristen Nordlund confirmed, according to The Hill. This comes after the 2023 Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) conference was held in Atlanta, Georgia, from April 24 to 27.

The event was "free and open to the public," the CDC noted. It was said to be a platform where EIS officers may "share their work in leading-edge investigations, scientific findings and forward-thinking strategies to inform improvements in public health."

It was the first time that the conference was held in person after years, as per the Washington Post, which also broke the news about the positive cases among CDC staffers just days after the event.

"CDC is working with the Georgia Department of Health to conduct a rapid epidemiological assessment of confirmed COVID-19 cases that appear to be connected to the 2023 EIS Conference to determine transmission patterns in this phase of the COVID-19 pandemic," Nordlund said in a statement, according to the outlet. "Whenever there are large gatherings, especially indoors, such as at a conference, there is the possibility of COVID-19 spread, even in periods of low community spread."

There were reports of attendees not following some of the earlier recommended protocols to prevent the transmission of COVID-19, such as wearing masks and practicing social distancing. Those who attended the event in person have reportedly received an email about the potential COVID-19 exposure as well as instructions to follow CDC guidelines on testing and isolation.

The cluster of cases comes as the new variant XBB.1.16, also known as Arcturus, continues to spread in the country. Though as of April, COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospitalization in the U.S. have been on a downward trend.

So far, the CDC is recommending the use of "community levels" to determine the impact of COVID-19 on a particular community. As of April 27, the vast majority of the U.S. has had "low" community levels. This includes much of the state of Georgia.

But regardless of the community level, the agency still recommends that people practice important measures against COVID-19, including staying up-to-date on their vaccination, maintaining proper ventilation, avoiding coming in contact with someone who has or is suspected to have COVID-19 and isolating oneself if confirmed to have COVID-19.

"If you are at high risk of getting very sick, talk with a health care provider about additional prevention actions," the agency noted.

Those at high risk may include people 50 years old and older, those who are immunocompromised or have weakened immune systems and those who have underlying medical conditions.

A general view of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters in Atlanta