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CDC report shows significant spread of COVID-19 at overnight summer camp
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At least 260 cases of COVID-19 have been linked to an overnight Georgia summer camp held in June, according to a CDC report released on Friday, July 31.  

Atlanta media sources have identified the camp as the YMCA’s Camp High Harbour in Rabun County, but neither the CDC nor the camp could be reached on Saturday to confirm those reports. Camp High Harbour has an office address in Gainesville.

According to the report, the camp was closed on June 27 after a teenage staff member tested positive for COVID-19 on June 24. The Georgia Department of Public Health was notified of the situation on June 25, and recommended all attendees be tested and self-quarantine, isolating themselves if they received a positive test result.  

The CDC obtained test results for 344 of the 597 Georgia residents present at the camp, with 260 of them, a little over 75%, coming back positive. Among children aged 6-10, 51% of test results were positive. The positive test rate was 44% for those aged 11-17 and 33% for those aged 18-21. 

“These findings demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2 spread efficiently in a youth-centric overnight setting, resulting in high attack rates among persons in all age groups, despite efforts by camp officials to implement most recommended strategies to prevent transmission,” the report said.  

Cloth masks were required for camp employees but not for campers. Windows and doors in camp buildings were not left open for increased ventilation.  

The report also notes that camp attendees were “cohorted by cabin and engaged in a variety of indoor and outdoor activities, including daily vigorous singing and cheering,” activities that “likely contributed to transmission,” according to the report. 

According to the report, the camp adhered to all measures required in Georgia’s executive order allowing overnight camps to operate beginning on May 31. All trainees, staff members and campers were required to provide documentation of a negative COVID-19 test no more than 12 days before the start of the camp. 

“This investigation adds to the body of evidence demonstrating that children of all ages are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection and, contrary to early reports, might play an important role in transmission. The multiple measures adopted by the camp were not sufficient to prevent an outbreak in the context of substantial community transmission,” the report said.