Now 85 COVID-19 Cases Associated With Youth Camp Outbreak

Now 85 COVID-19 Cases Associated With Youth Camp Outbreak

The Illinois Department of Public Health is now reporting 85 teens and adult staff at the Crossing Camp, a summer youth camp held in mid-June in central Illinois, tested positive for COVID-19.

One unvaccinated, young adult was hospitalized.

Although all campers and staff were eligible for vaccination, IDPH is aware of only a handful of campers and staff receiving the vaccine. The camp was not checking vaccination status and masking was not required while indoors.

IDPH is reminding people about the importance of vaccination, including youth, as the Delta variant and other variants continue to spread.

“The majority of the 85 COVID-19 cases associated with the youth camp are among teens,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “The perceived risk to children may seem small, but even a mild case of COVID-19 can cause long-term health issues. Additionally, infected youth who may not experience severe illness can still spread the virus to others, including those who are too young to be vaccinated or those who don’t build the strong expected immune response to the vaccine.”

A couple individuals who were at the camp also attended a nearby conference, which resulted in 11 additional cases. At least 70% of those cases were unvaccinated.

The vaccines currently authorized in the U.S. have been shown to be effective among individuals who are fully vaccinated, even against the more transmissible and serious variants.  Schuyler and Adams counties, where the outbreaks occurred, are seeing approximately 40% of their population fully vaccinated.

IDPH continues to assist local health departments involved in the youth camp and conference outbreaks and is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Specimens are being sought for genomic sequencing to determine if any of the cases were caused by variants.

Information about where to get a COVID-19 vaccination can be found at https://www.vaccines.gov.  CDC guidance adopted by IDPH for operating youth camps can be found at http://www.dph.illinois.gov/covid19/community-guidance/operating-youth-camps.

CDC Guidance For Schools, Childcare, Summer Camps

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued updated guidance for the operation of youth camps, as of May 28, 2021. The state of Illinois has adopted the CDC guidance, which can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/summer-camps.html.

This interim guidance is intended to help camp administrators operate camps while slowing the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 thereby protecting campers, their families, staff, and communities.

Key Points

  • COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, and widely accessible in the United States.
  • Everyone aged 12 years and older is recommended to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible to keep from getting and spreading COVID-19.
  • This guidance is intended for all types of youth day and overnight camps. The guidance outlines strategies that camp programs can use to help maintain healthy environments and operations, lower the risk of COVID-19 spread in their programs, prepare for when someone is sick with COVID-19, and support coping and resilience.
  • For camps where everyone is fully vaccinated prior to the start of camp, it is safe to  return to full capacity, without masking, and without physical distancing in accordance with CDC’s Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People; except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations.
  • Although people who are fully vaccinated do not need to wear masks, camp programs should be supportive of campers or staff who choose to wear a mask.
  • Consistent and layered use of multiple prevention strategies can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect people who are not fully vaccinated including campers, staff, and their families.
  • This guidance describes physical distancing recommendations for youth camps. These recommendations align with current evidence for physical distancing in K-12 schools.
  • Campers should be assigned to cohorts that will remain together for the entire camp session without mixing, to the largest extent possible.
  • This CDC guidance is meant to supplement—not replace—any federal, state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations with which camps must comply