Hundreds of children test positive for COVID-19 after attending YMCA summer camp


More than 200 people, including children, tested positive after going to a YMCA summer camp this June, according to a CDC report.

Camp High Harbour in north Georgia shut down after a staff member tested positive for the coronavirus.

Karin Jassop’s kids went to one of those Camp High Harbour day camps at Lake Alatoona.

“I think about three weeks in we received a note that somebody had tested positive,” said Jassop.

The positive test came from a teenage staff member at Camp High Harbour in Rabun County, which forced the closure of two of those summer campsites. The CDC is now releasing a report about how far the virus spread at camp.

“I think it’s important that we understand that it’s a constantly evolving and mutating virus and this information was from six to eight weeks ago,” said Jassop.

The CDC confirms a total of 597 people went to Camp High Harbour in Rabun County in late June. Three hundred and forty-four of them got tested for coronavirus. Among those tested, 260 came back positive.

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According to the CDC report, Camp High Harbour implemented the CDC’s suggestions requiring all trainees, staff, and campers to provide documentation of a negative COVID-19 test before coming to camp.

“You did have to do a pre-health questionnaire and answer have you had any symptoms,” explained Jassop, “They did temp checks as the kids got out of the car.”

The camp did not require face masks for campers and open windows for increased ventilation. The report found about half of the infections hit kids 6-10 years old.

The YMCA responded to FOX 5’s request for a statement saying:

“In preparing for Camp High Harbour, we made every effort to adhere to best practices outlined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Camp Association. Additionally, we followed guidelines set forth by the Executive Order from the State of Georgia. Attending Camp High Harbour is a tradition numerous generations of Y families look forward to every summer.

Many of these individuals reached out to the Y to express their desire for us to open our resident camps in an effort to create normalcy in their children’s lives due to the detrimental impact of COVID-19. This weighed heavily in our decision to open, a decision in retrospect we now regret. After learning on June 24 that a counselor tested positive for COVID-19, we immediately closed both of our resident camp locations and the counselor was sent home. It should be noted that the counselor also passed the mandated safety protocols, inclusive of providing a negative COVID-19 test, and did not exhibit any symptoms upon arrival.

In fact, all counselors and campers attending passed all mandatory screenings. At that time, parents were promptly notified of the opportunity to pick up their children. We also began working closely with the Georgia Department of Public Health and CDC to provide information pertaining to camp, so they would have a better understanding of the effects COVID-19 has on children.

It’s never a pleasant situation when someone tests positive for COVID-19 but we are thankful for the support and understanding of campers, parents and staff during this situation.”

The report concluded that children are more susceptible to COVID-19 than previously thought and could play a role in the transmission of it.

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