July 31, 2020 / 7:24 PM / 9 days ago

Coronavirus spread among children in Georgia youth camp, CDC says

(Reuters) - The coronavirus spread to at least 44% of staff and attendees at an overnight youth camp over a week and a half, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control said in a review of an overnight camp in Georgia.

“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 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. However, campers did not follow rules to wear cloth masks and open windows and doors for ventilation, according to the report.

It did not give the name or exact location of the camp.

Attendees, including staff and campers, were required to get COVID-19 tests showing no virus before attending. After camp started, a camper developed COVID-19 symptoms, leading the camp to shut down. The Georgia Department of Public Health then recommended attendees get screenings, the CDC report said.

The camp held orientation and a session between June 17 and June 27, when it closed because of the virus. Test results were available for 344 of 597 Georgia resident attendees, but total infection rates were calculated based on all attendees. Thus infection rates are probably underestimates, the CDC said, adding that some also could have contracted the virus outside camp.

The total infection rate of the 597 staff and campers was 44%, with an infection rate of 76% among the 344 for whom test results were available. The largest age group, 11-17, had a 44% overall infection rate, including people for whom results were not available.

Reporting by Manojna Maddipatla in Bengaluru; Editing by Nick Zieminski

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