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YMCA campers’ COVID-19 cases rise

At least 30 positive cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed among children and staff attending YMCA Camp High Harbour.
At least 30 positive cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed among children and staff attending YMCA Camp High Harbour.

The number of staff and children who have tested positive for the coronavirus after attending YMCA camps in recent weeks is on the rise, top state health officials say.

At least 30 confirmed cases of the virus have been identified from camps at Lake Burton and Lake Allatoona, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health. “This number can change as results are reported, or if an individual who tested negative, later develops symptoms,” officials said.

YMCA Camp High Harbour closed its two locations last week after a counselor at the Lake Burton site in Rabun County tested positive.

A Thursday email to parents from staff acknowledged the growing number of positive tests of campers and staff across multiple cabins. “We are not naming specific cabins to protect the identity and privacy of camps and staff,” the email said.

Parents are being directed to a state health department investigation supervisor and case investigator to determine whether to take a COVID-19 test.

DPH officials also say they are conducting contract tracing in order to identify positive cases. Staff and campers “come from many locations in and around Georgia,” state health officials said.

Earlier this week, the YMCA said it “cannot confirm a number” of positive COVID-19 test results. But multiple people who attended camp on Lake Burton have tested positive, and one at the camp on Lake Allatoona. Campers are ages 7-15 and staff are ages 16-22.

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 also 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 to the AJC on Saturday.

Georgia reported 2,826 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Saturday. That’s down from 3,472 newly reported cases Thursday, which set a record for the number of new cases.