Hundreds of people at a youth camp in Georgia tested positive for the CCP virus within days before the camp was shut down, according to a report released on Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Of the 597 people who attended the camp, which was not named by the CDC, 344 were tested, and 260 tested positive for the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, also known as the novel coronavirus.
“The overall attack rate was 44 percent (260 of 597), 51 percent among those aged 6-10 years, 44 percent among those aged 11-17 years, and 33 percent among those aged 18-21 years,” the report said.
Specifically, the report said that on June 23, a teenage staff member had left the camp after experiencing chills that started the previous evening. Camp officials started sending campers home on June 24 and the camp was closed by June 27.
It adds, “Among 136 cases with available symptom data, 36 (26 percent) patients reported no symptoms; among 100 (74 percent) who reported symptoms, those most commonly reported were subjective or documented fever (65 percent), headache (61 percent), and sore throat (46 percent).”
The report noted that it had three limitations: firstly, cases may have been missed among people who were not tested; secondly, some cases may have resulted from transmission before or after attending the camp, due to increasing incidence of the CCP virus in Georgia in June and July; and thirdly, it is uncertain how many at the camp were compliant with COVID-19 prevention measures.
“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.
In a media statement, the CDC said that the camp did adopt “some mitigation steps” as outlined in its article on youth and summer camps. Such steps include cohorting attendees by cabin, and increasing cleaning and disinfection. However, the CDC statement noted that the camp “did not require the 363 campers to wear masks, only the staff.”
“Additionally, camp attendees engaged in a variety of indoor and outdoor activities that included daily vigorous singing and cheering, which might have contributed to transmission,” the CDC statement said.
The statement also noted that multi-day, overnight summer camps “pose a unique challenge” in preventing the spread of infectious diseases, because of the time all the campers and staff spend in close proximity.
In addition to cloth masks not implemented for campers, another measure not implemented was the opening of windows and doors for increased ventilation in buildings, the CDC report said.
It added that “asymptomatic infection was common and potentially contributed to undetected transmission.”
“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 report asserted.
It concluded: “An ongoing investigation will further characterize specific exposures associated with infection, illness course, and any secondary transmission to household members. Physical distancing and consistent and correct use of cloth masks should be emphasized as important strategies for mitigating transmission in congregate settings.”