An outbreak of coronavirus has been reported in a night camp in Georgia that does not require campers to wear face masks.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a study Friday on the outbreak, saying it showed children were susceptible to the virus and “played an important role in transmission.”
The camp, which the CDC did not name, conducted an orientation for 120 employees and more than 130 trainees in mid-June, according to the weekly report on morbidity and mortality. Staff members remained in the camp and on June 21, more than 360 campers aged 6 to 1
Days later, on June 23, a member of the juvenile staff left after a chill and later tested positive for the coronavirus. The camp began sending people home the next day and alerted the state public health department.
Among children and staff tested for the virus, 260 returned positive, 231 of whom were 17 or younger.
“Settings, such as multi-day, night summer camps, are a unique challenge when it comes to preventing the spread of infectious diseases, given the amount of time campers and staff spend in close proximity,” the CDC said in a statement.
The health department recommended that everyone present at the camp be tested for the virus and self-quarantine. Those who tested positive were asked to isolate themselves. The camp closed on June 27.
According to the CDC, everyone at the camp reported that they had tested negative for the virus, but did not require campers to wear face masks. Only employees had to wear masks.
The report also notes that campers sleep in cabins and participate in “various indoor and outdoor activities, including daily vigorous singing and applause.”
“Asymptomatic infection is common and potentially contributes to undetected transmission, as previously reported,” the CDC report said. “This investigation adds to the evidence that children of all ages are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection and, contrary to early reports, may play an important role in transmission.”
In a press release, the CDC said the proper use of face masks, along with strict cleansing and social distancing, could help prevent the spread of the virus. These recommendations are included in the CDC’s recently published guidelines for school rebuilding, which are being discussed as the White House calls for schools to be fully open.