More than 80 teens and adult staff have tested positive for COVID-19 after attending a summer camp in central Illinois that did not require masks indoors or vaccination status.
Of the 85 people infected, about 70% of the cases were not vaccinated, according to a press release from the Illinois Department of Health on Monday.
“The perceived risk to children may seem small, but even a mild case of COVID-19 can cause long-term health issues,” IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said in the release.
CNN reports the Crossing Camp in Schuyler County was held in mid-June and left one unvaccinated teen needing hospitalization after contracting the virus.
USA TODAY has reached out to Crossing Camp for comment.
The IDPH said they were only aware of a handful of teens and staffers who received the vaccine, though all at the camp were eligible.
Some of the attendees also attended a nearby conference which resulted in 11 additional cases, IDPH reported.
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“Infected youth who may not experience severe illness can still spread the virus to others, including those who are too young to be vaccinated or those who don’t build the strong expected immune response to the vaccine,” Ezike said.
Crossing Camp said on its website it was postponing the 4th and 5th grade camp until August due to a COVID-19 outbreak between June 13-17.
“We were so looking forward to spending time with your campers this weekend, but we believe the best way to value and love our students, difference makers, and staff is to delay camp until a safer time,” the site said.
The IDPH said Schuyler and Adams counties, where the outbreaks occurred, were approximately 40% vaccinated. About 53% of the population over the age of 12 in Illinois in fully vaccinated.
“IDPH is reminding people about the importance of vaccination, including youth, as the Delta variant and other variants continue to spread,” the release said.
Follow reporter Asha Gilbert @Coastalasha. Email: [email protected]