Families Returning From a Texas Church Summer Camp Linked to 125+ COVID-19 Cases

Photo: (Photo : Dmitry Feoktistov\TASS via Getty Images)

In Galveston, Texas, a community church has issued a public statement to confirm that some 125+ students and adults who attended their four-day church summer camp have returned home with positive COVID-19 results.

Bruce Wesley, the lead pastor of the Clear Creek Community Church, posted on Facebook that they have to temporarily cancel in-person services and other activities in the coming days in light of this development. He also said that "hundreds more" were likely exposed to the virus as the community cooperates with the Galveston County Health District's detection and contact tracing. 

More than 400 people joined the church summer camp for 6th to 12th graders at Camp Creek in late June. When the families returned, the county health officials initially confirmed 57 individuals as COVID-19 positive, where 10 of the cases have been children below 12 years old. 

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However, the health officials also learned that the kids at camp didn't wander out or leave the campgrounds during their stay. They also had no contact with camp counselors who were not from their church. The Clear Creek Community Church was the only group at Camp Creek when the outbreak happened.

A Reminder: Take Precautions 

According to ABC, at least 90 people who self-reported their positive results were not residents of Galveston County. It was not clear if the church required the participants to be vaccinated before they signed up for the camp.

However, the lead pastor said they observed strict safety protocols since the beginning of the pandemic and only resumed in-person worship without face masks in April 2021, complying with the state guidelines.

Dr. Philip Keiser of the Galveston County Health District said that this superspreader event is a stark reminder that taking precautions is still important when many people have yet to get their COVID-19 vaccine. The health official also urged other camp attendees to get tested for the virus as soon as possible.

Delta Variant Cases

Galveston County Health District's bulletin cited that at least three samples from the first group of positive cases were infected with the Delta variant, which is more transmissible. On the other hand, six people have been classified as "breakthrough cases" since they were infected with the virus despite completing their second COVID-19 vaccine weeks before the church summer camp.  

The news comes as Texas has been slowly easing restrictions, allowing summer camps to return to traditional activities to relieve kids who had to deal with online classes and quarantines for a year. 

As of the end of June 2021, data from the health district showed that 44 percent of Galveston's general population are fully vaccinated. More than half of the children above 12 years old have had their first vaccine shot. Meanwhile, children under 12 years old are not yet cleared to get the vaccine in the U.S., but trials are being fast-tracked for its emergency use by the time the new school term begins. 

Related ArticlePfizer Kids Vaccine Against COVID-19 for Below 12 Could be Ready for Approval by Fall 

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