More than 125 children and adults have tested positive for COVID-19 after attending a four-day summer camp in southern Texas. The Clear Creek Community Church hosted the camp for sixth through 12th graders in late June with more than 450 people in attendance, reports Newsweek.
- So far, health authorities have identified the coronavirus delta variant in three samples and will continue testing further samples, reports KHOU, a local Houston news station.
- The Clear Creek Community Church is an interdenominational church south of Houston with five campuses, reports CNN.
The Texas outbreak comes shortly after a similar outbreak at an Illinois summer camp, the Deseret News reported.
What happened at the Texas summer camp?
So far, more than 125 people have tested positive following the summer camp, according to a statement from the church’s lead pastor, Bruce Wesley. Although campers did not leave the campground during their stay, “hundreds more were exposed to COVID-19 at camp. And hundreds of others were likely exposed when infected people returned home from camp,” Pastor Wesley’s statement read, per CNN.
- At this point, it is unknown what — if any — preventative health safety measures were in place during the camp.
- The vaccination status of attendees is also unknown, reports CNN. In Galveston County, 57% of the eligible population has received one vaccine dose.
“From the beginning of the pandemic, we have sought to love our neighbors by practicing strict safety protocols,” Pastor Wesley said in his statement via CNN. “We are surprised and saddened by this turn of events. Our hearts break for those infected with the virus.”
- Local health authorities are coordinating with church leadership to respond to the outbreak, reports The Hill.
Are summer camps safe during COVID-19?
Summer camps are intended to create positive experiences for youth, not positive coronavirus cases. Although vaccines are approved for children above the age of 12, vaccination rates for youth have lagged, reports KHOU.
- With the more transmissible delta variant becoming more prevalent, health officials have continued to encourage adults and children to wear face masks to combat the spread of COVID-19, the Deseret News reported.
- Unvaccinated children still face a higher risk of contracting COVID-19, particularly with the ongoing delta variant, the Deseret News reported.
According to Galveston County health official Philip Keise, the summer camp outbreak ”is a reminder that COVID-19 is still here, and we have to take precautions,” per The Hill.