180 COVID-19 cases linked to outbreaks at teen bible camp and men’s conference

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — The Illinois Department of Public Health linked 180 COVID-19 cases to two events held in Central Illinois in mid-June.

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The events — Crossing Camp, a five-day overnight church camp for teens ages 14 through 18 held in Rushville, and a two-day men’s conference held nearby — were sponsored by the same organization and occurred in Schuyler and Adams counties. Rushville is about 55 miles northwest of Springfield.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report Tuesday detailing the outbreaks.

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Of the 180 infected individuals, 87 were those who attended the camp and 35 were conference attendees, according to the CDC report. The remaining 58 were people who came in close contact with either camp or conference attendees.

Of the 31 infected people who had samples sequenced, 27, or 87%, were infected with the Delta variant, according to the CDC report.

Only eight of the camp attendees and 10 of the conference attendees were fully vaccinated, the CDC report stated.

CDC report: Epidemiologically Linked COVID-19 Outbreaks at a Youth Camp and Men’s Conference — Illinois, June–July 2021

The CDC believes that 1,127 persons from at least four states and 18 counties were exposed to COVID-19 from either attending the two events or coming in close contact with someone who did.

Crossing Camp was held June 13 through 17 and had a total of 335 people in attendance — 294 campers and 41 staff members. Masks weren’t included on the list of items campers should bring. One camper left early after “becoming ill with a fever and respiratory symptoms and subsequently received a laboratory-confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19,” according to the CDC report.  Campers and staff were notified and told to quarantine if they received a positive test result.

COVID-19 outbreaks in at least 21 overnight camps had been reported in Illinois as of Aug. 7, the CDC reported, adding that the occurrences reinforce the necessity of prevention measures such as testing, vaccination, masking, and social distancing.

Six of the camp staff members who tested positive for COVID-19 also attended the men’s conference. The men’s conference, held June 18 and 19 at a different location, had 500 attendees and 30 staff members. The first COVID-19 case in a conference attendee was diagnosed on June 21, the CDC reported.

Only five of the total 180 infected individuals were hospitalized. None of the vaccinated individuals had to be hospitalized. There were no deaths reported.

IDPH Investigators didn’t have access to a complete roster of attendees at both events, leaving the CDC to believe that the number of COVID-19 infections from these events were underestimated.

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