How did a summer camp lead to a COVID-19 outbreak?
In mid-June, the Crossing Camp in Schuyler County, Illinois, held an overnight camp for students ranging from eighth grade to graduating seniors. The camp did not check vaccination statuses for campers or staffers and did not require masks indoors, reports CNN. Everyone attending the camp was eligible for vaccination.
- Now, more than 80 individuals have tested positive for COVID-19 with 70% of cases being among unvaccinated individuals, reports USA Today.
- One unvaccinated young adult who tested positive has required hospitalization, says CNN.
- The outbreak has affected three states, CNN reports.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the camp was in compliance with local guidelines for overnight and day camps. These guidelines state that “everyone aged 12 years and older is recommended to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible,” ABC News reports.
- Schuyler County has a vaccination rate of 40%, USA Today reports.
What does this mean for other summer camps?
The Crossing Camp has postponed upcoming camps for fourth- and fifth-grade students, says CNN.
- The director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, Dr. Ngozi Ezike, said Monday per CNN that “the perceived risk to children may seem small, but even a mild case of COVID-19 can cause long-term health issues.”
- “Infected youth who may not experience severe illness can still spread the virus to others, including those who are too young to be vaccinated or those who don’t build the strong expected immune response to the vaccine,” Ezike said per CNN.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker also commented on the outbreak, reports People.
- “The lessons here at home and across the world are a harbinger of what could happen here, particularly in low vaccinated areas, if we don’t see a higher uptake of the vaccine across Illinois,” he said.
- “This is very real,” Pritzker said per People. “I implore all residents, if you have friends and family on the fence, share with them the life-saving benefits of these free vaccines and encourage them to remain masked until they are fully vaccinated.”