In news that may bolster arguments against reopening school campuses soon, the Centers for Disease Control has reported that a Georgia sleepaway camp saw 168 kids contract the virus.
The YMCA Camp High Harbour required masks for counselors, but was forced to close in June after the outbreak. In the gathering of 344 campers and staff tested, 260 came back positive in the weeks after the camp closed, according to the CDC’s analysis, which was released on Friday. Of that total, children were 168 of the positives, with 51 of the 100 children ages 6 to 10 positive.
The overnight camp opened June 21 and closed six days later. The CDC said 74 percent of attendees had symptoms, including fever, headache and sore throat.
The CDC report said the camp had “multiple” safety measures in place. However, they did not mandate mask use for campers. The children also engaged regularly in singing and cheering, which likely contributed to the disease’s spread, the CDC concluded.
“SARS-CoV-2 spread efficiently in a youth-centric overnight setting, resulting in high attack rates among persons in all age groups,” the researchers wrote.
YMCA of Metro Atlanta officials said they “regret” the decision to open.
“Attending Camp High Harbour is a tradition numerous generations of Y families look forward to every summer,” the organization said in a statement to NBC News. “Many of these individuals reached out to the Y to express their desire for us to open our resident camps in an effort to create normalcy in their children’s lives due to the detrimental impact of COVID-19,” the statement continued.
“This weighed heavily in our decision to open, a decision in retrospect we now regret.”