YMCA campers, staff test positive for COVID-19 after camps close

Lake Burton.
Lake Burton.

Multiple children and staff who attended YMCA camps on Lake Burton and Lake Allatoona have tested positive for COVID-19, and the Georgia Department of Public Health is investigating.

YMCA Camp High Harbour closed its two locations on the lakes north of Atlanta last week after a counselor at the Lake Burton site in Rabun County tested positive. The YMCA confirmed Friday that multiple people who attended camp on Lake Burton have tested positive, and one at the camp on Lake Allatoona.

Since June 25, "we have been able to confirm additional positive test results for staff and campers at Camp High Harbour at Lake Burton," says an email from the YMCA Camp High Harbour staff to parents.

In a written statement to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, YMCA of Metro Atlanta president Lauren Koontz acknowledged the additional cases, but said the organization "cannot confirm a number" of positive COVID-19 test results. Campers are ages 7-15, and staff are ages 16-22.

The email to parents directs those with children at the camp during last week’s session to a state health department investigation supervisor and case investigator to determine whether to take a COVID-19 test.

The Georgia Department of Public Health has not said how many people from the camps have the coronavirus, but said this week it is “sorting through the list of positive cases” for contact tracing.

Those who test positive will be instructed to isolate at home for 10 days. Others who were in close contact will be told to quarantine at home for 14 days, and get tested if they develop symptoms during that period.

The state public health department noted that staff and campers “come from many locations in and around Georgia.”

The YMCA said all counselors and campers had passed mandatory screenings before arriving. The counselor who first showed symptoms was immediately sent home.

The YMCA said it decided to close the camp for the summer and was crediting fees paid by camp participants.

“In preparing for camp, we collaborated with the Centers for Disease Control and the American Camp Association and followed the safety guidelines of the Executive Order from the State of Georgia,” Koontz said in the statement.

Georgia reported 2,784 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Friday. That’s down from 3,472 newly reported cases Thursday, which set a record for the number of new cases.

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