An outbreak of a coronavirus was reported at a summer camp overnight in Georgia that required campers not to wear face masks.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a study on Friday when it broke out, which it said shows children are susceptible to the virus and “play an important role in transmission.”
The camp, which the CDC did not mention, was geared toward 120 staff members and more than 130 apprentices in mid-June, according to the Weekly Morbidity and Mortality Report. Staff members stayed in the camp and on 21 June more than 360 campers ranging in age from 6 to 19 joined.
Days later, on June 23, a teenage staff member left after developing a creep and after testing positive for coronavirus. The camp began sending people home the next day and alerted the state Department of Public Health.
Among children and staff tested for the virus, 260 tested positive, with 231 of them 17 years of age or younger.
“Setting, like multi-night summer camps, poses a unique challenge when it comes to preventing the spread of infectious diseases, given the amount of time that campers and members of the staff spend close by, “the CDC said in a press release.
The health department recommended that anyone who attended the camp be tested for the virus and for self-quarantine. Those who tested positive were asked to isolate. The camp closed on June 27.
According to the CDC, the camp had everyone submit documentation that they had tested negative for the virus, but did not require campers to wear face masks. Only staff members had to wear masks.
The report also noted that campers slept in cabins and participated “in a variety of indoor and outdoor activities, including daily loud singing and praise.”
“Asymptomatic infection was common and potentially contributed to undetected transmission, as previously reported,” the CDC report stated. “This investigation adds to the body of evidence showing that children of all ages are prone to SARS-CoV-2 infection and, contrary to early reports, may play an important role in transmission.”
The CDC said in its press release that the proper use of facial masks, combined with rigorous cleansing and social breakdown, can help prevent the spread of the virus. These recommendations are included in the guide recently released by the CDC for reopening schools, which has been discussed as the White House calls for schools to reopen fully.