Georgia camp with COVID-19 outbreak didn’t require masks

MIKE STOBBE

NEW YORK (AP) — A Georgia overnight camp hit by a coronavirus outbreak took many precautions, but didn’t make campers wear masks or have proper ventilation in buildings, according to a government report released Friday.

The camp followed disinfecting rules and required staff to wear masks, but campers didn't have to wear face coverings. Health officials said “relatively large” groups of kids slept in the same cabin where they regularly sang and cheered, likely leading to spread.

Nearly 600 people were at the overnight camp, which was not named in the report by Georgia health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Media outlets reported a large outbreak occurred at the time at a YMCA camp at Lake Burton in Rabun County, near the state’s northern border with North Carolina.

Campers ranged in age from 6 to 19, and many of the staffers were teenagers. Cabins had between 16 to 26 people. The report said this was “relatively large” but doesn't clearly say if it was too many. Health investigators did fault the camp for not opening enough windows and doors to increase circulation in buildings.

The report said a teenage staff member developed chills on the evening of June 22 and left the camp the following day.

The camp began sending campers home two days later when the staffer got a positive test result for coronavirus. The camp notified state health officials and closed the camp on June 27.

Test results were available for 344 people and 260 of them — about three-quarters — were positive.

The percentage of campers infected was higher among younger kids than older kids, the report found. It also was higher in kids who were at the camp for longer periods of time.

Officials recorded information about symptoms for only 136 kids. Of those, 100 reported symptoms — mostly fever, headache and sore throat.

Video: Are you wearing the right mask? Here’s what you need to know.

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The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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