A coronavirus outbreak was reported at a night summer camp in Georgia that did not require campers to wear face masks.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a study on Friday of an outbreak showing that children are susceptible to the virus and “play an important role in transmission.”
The camp, which was not named by the CDC, had an orientation for 120 employees and more than 130 trainees in mid-June, according to its Weekly Report on Morbidity and Mortality. The staff remained in the camp and on June 21, they were joined by more than 360 campers aged 6 to 19.
A few days later, on June 23, the adolescent employee left after developing a cold and was later positive for the coronavirus. The camp began sending homes home the next day, alerting the state health ministry.
Among the children and staff who were tested for the virus, 260 returned positively, of which 231 were aged 17 and under.
“Environments, such as multi-day summer camps, present a unique challenge in preventing the spread of infectious diseases, given the amount of time campers and staff spend in close proximity,” she told a CDC press release.
The medical department recommended that everyone who participated in the camp be tested for the presence of the virus and quarantine. Those who tested positive were asked to isolate. The camp closed on June 27.
According to the CDC, each camp had to provide documentation that it was virus-negative, but did not require campers to wear face masks. Only employees wore masks.
The report also states that the campers slept in the cabins and took part in “various indoor and outdoor activities, including daily intense singing and encouragement.”
“Asymptomatic infection was common and potentially contributed to undetected transmission, as previously reported,” the CDC report said. “This investigation contributes to a wealth of evidence showing that children of all ages are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection and, unlike early reports, may play an important role in transmission.”
The CDC said in a press release that proper use of face masks, along with thorough cleansing and social distancing, can help prevent the virus from spreading. These recommendations are contained in a recent CDC guideline on school reopening, which was discussed as the White House calls for schools to be fully reopened.