COVID-19 rips through Georgia sleepaway camp

More than 250 campers and staff members tested positive for COVID-19 at the YMCA-run High Harbor Camp, according to the CDC.
5:32 | 08/03/20

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Transcript for COVID-19 rips through Georgia sleepaway camp
shark spotted off cape code that forced the beach to close on Sunday. George, we'll continue with that eye-opening report about kids and covid-19. An alarming new CDC report about a massive camp outbreak in Georgia raising concerns over what can happen when you gather a large number of children together in close quarters. Steve osunsami has that story. Steve, the average age of the children at this camp was 12 years old. Reporter: That's right, robin. Health officials tell us many of these kids who tested positive were asymptomatic. Health investigators who looked into the case say what happened at this camp is instructive to parents and school systems sending their kids back to classes. What we want to do is show you the things we're going to do to keep your campers safe. Reporter: Despite their many efforts to keep campers healthy and safe, this morning the high harbor camp in Georgia is closed after hundreds of kids got sick with covid-19. The number of positive test results so far, according to the CDC, is 260 campers and staff members. Here on Instagram they were taking extra precautions. Everyone had to have a negative covid test on file before they got to camp. Staff members required to wear face coverings and campers had to stay in their designated I was surprised. They had done such a great job with temp checks, with prescreening, the counselors making sure they were tested. Reporter: Between June 17th and June 21st, 363 cammers, 123 staffers and 138 trainees arrived at camp. On June 22nd one team staffer felt sick testing positive. On June 24th the camp starting to send campers home. Out of 344 people tested, 260 were positive, about 76%. Karen jassip sent her kids to the camp and learned there was an outbreak through a phone call and an email. The camp was mostly outdoors. I didn't understand how it could have happened based on the precautions and space. Reporter: In the CDC report health officials pointed to several issues saying staffers wore masks, but campers didn't and singing and cheering didn't help. Windows and doors weren't left open for better ventilation. Places like gyms, bars and now sleep-away camps are the places where this virus is the most efficient at spreading because essentially you're in close proximity. There's not a lot of room for the virus to dissipate. Reporter: In a statement the ymca who runs the camp said they followed every best practice as outlined by the CDC and the American camp association. They underline that many parents reached out to them in the spring asking them to open. Amy? Steve osunsami, thank you for that. Let's bring in Dr. Ashish jha. Dr. Jha, what happened at this camp despite all those efforts is definitely alarming. Is this a warning sign about what could happen when schools re-open? Good morning and thank you for having me on. It's a warning sign of what could happen if you don't follow the guidance. I don't think Georgia given how bad an outbreak they were experiencing, I don't think it was wise to open that camp. They didn't do all the stuff around ventilation and getting kids to wear masks. If you don't do those things, it's not a surprise. Three quarters of the kids, 260, got infected. Schools will have to be much more careful. We're hearing about rising case numbers in young individuals. A new study in Jama says younger children may carry the virus in higher amounts that adults do. With all that in mind, how do schools re-open safely? So I think we've been a little cavalier about this and assumed that kids are fine and they don't spread it or get infected often. We're seeing data that suggests it may not be true. I think schools can open, but not in communities with large amount of spread and not without vigorous planning. Too many communities aren't doing that. What do you make of the studies that suggest that kids are less likely to get the virus or less likely to transmit it? What do you make of those? The data is a little bit all over the place. Some studies show that. Others don't. My best assessment of the evidence is that young kids, 10 and under, probably do transmit less. They still get infected. They don't get very sick generally. Kids 10 and under do seem to transmit less. High schoolers, they function like adults. We have to think about them differently than younger kids. So many questions for parents and educators. We certainly appreciate your expertise, Dr. Jha. Breaking news from the

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