COVID-19 outbreak among attendees of a Georgia camp

Grant Boone
August 1, 2020

The camp followed most of the CDC's recommendations to mitigate the spread of the virus, including segregation of attendees by cabin and enhanced cleaning and disinfection measures.

The camp ignored the CDC's advice that all participants in summer camps wear cloth masks - requiring them only for staff. The camp's almost 600 attendees were not, however.

Doors and windows also were not kept open in buildings to allow for air circulation.

"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 study authors wrote.

"Asymptomatic an infection was prevalent and possibly contributed to undetected transmission, as has been formerly described".

"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", according to the study in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The camp held an orientation for 138 trainees and 120 staff members from June 17 to June 20 - the vast majority of whom were themselves aged 21 and under.

Settings, like multi-day, overnight summer camps, pose a unique challenge when it comes to preventing the spread of infectious diseases considering the amount of time campers and staff members spend in close proximity.

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The continental disease control and prevention agency also stressed that some 556, 695 patients who tested positive for COVID-19 have recovered across the continent so far. The first reported case was on June 24 and began sending campers home soon after and shut the entire camp down by June 27.

The Georgia Department of Public Health, which was notified of the incident June 25, launched an investigation and advised all attendees to get tested and self-quarantine, the report reads.

They likewise discovered the attack rate increased with increasing length of time invested at the camp, with team member having the greatest attack rate at 56%. (Staff arrived to Lake Burton four days ahead of campers on June 17).

The attack rate is the total number of new cases divided by the total at-risk population. After excluding out-of-state attendees, researchers examined data from 597 Georgia residents at the camp.

Authors of the report noted the review was limited by its knowledge set, which didn't contain all the campers and thus could be lacking more similar situations.

The CDC research study didn't call the camp.

Although identical clusters have transpired all-around funerals, weddings, teenage get-togethers and grownup gatherings throughout the covid-19 pandemic, couple super-spreading occasions have been documented among the young children.

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