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Oakmont COVID-19 update

By Jim Brewer

It began innocuously enough on Feb. 25, with Oakmont’s largest social club, the Boomers, celebrating — perhaps — the beginning of a return to normal with a musical tribute band and dance at the Berger auditorium.

The organizers took precautions. Proof of vaccination and boosting was required, tables were placed at a safe distance from each other and, in accordance with county guidelines, masking was encouraged. By all accounts, it was a hugely successful evening, with laughter and dancing and, most of all, socializing.

But it was hardly a return to normal. Within a week, some among the 200 Boomers who attended the gathering tested positive for COVID-19. Some went on to attend other Oakmont events, and only later found out they had been exposed. Even more concerning, some actually were getting sick.

By the second week of March, the real impact of that event had become clear: Oakmont had held its very own spreader event. At least 50 cases were confirmed after county health officials set up an on-site Covid testing event. And, after consulting with the county health department, the Oakmont Village Association (OVA) issued a Saint Patrick’s Day directive requiring that masks be worn in all Oakmont community events at least through April 15.

“We’re going to have it under control. Absolutely,” said Heidi Klyn, an OVA board member and former Boomer club president who still assists with the club’s event programming.

Board president Tom Kendrick said Oakmont was fortunate in at least one respect: “Most of the people testing positive have been vaccinated, so the symptoms have been pretty minimal,” he said.

That wasn’t exactly Klyn’s experience. She was among those who battled a case of the Omicron variant for several days in early March. “This thing is awful,” she said. “I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. It wasn’t fun at all.”

But, Klyn said, “At least nobody here got any severe cases or died.”

The OVA got some welcome news the day after its mask mandate was issued. Of the 78 people who got COVID-19 tests in Oakmont on March 16, none had tested positive.

On that same day, very few people showed up at Oakmont’s normally crowded gym for a morning workout. But no one who did was wearing a mask.