At least 85 people, including teens and adults, were confirmed to have been afflicted with COVID-19 after attending a summer camp in Illinois.
The event was held at the Crossing Camp in Rushville, which later caused outbreaks in Schuyler and Adams counties. Among the attendees at the summer camp, only a handful of staff and students were vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus, said The Illinois Health Department.
Additionally, the camp did not implement mandatory face masks for people while they were indoors and did not monitor the vaccination status of those who attended. Due to the outbreak and subsequent spread of infections, the camp's next summer session was postponed, WGNTV reported.
Summer Camp Coronavirus Outbreak
In a statement, IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said most of the 85 individuals found to be infected with the coronavirus were teenagers. She added that despite the perceived risk of the COVID-19 virus on children, even a minor case of the disease could cause long-term health issues.
Ezike warned that children who do not develop severe symptoms are still fully capable of spreading the virus to other people they come into contact with, such as those too young to be vaccinated or those with compromised immune systems.
Several people who attended the camp later visited a nearby conference, causing 11 other cases, 70% of which were among unvaccinated individuals. Schuyler and Adams counties, where the outbreak spread further, only reported a 40% vaccination rate among their residents.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced a cooperative effort between the IDPH and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) during a press conference that would assist health professionals with the spread of the disease. They would also work on determining whether any of the cases are from the Delta variant.
Pritzker also asked the public to continue taking safety precautions against the pandemic, especially people who have not yet received their vaccinations. He added residents should use the outbreak as a learning experience of the growing threat of the virus, primarily due to the new variants, which have been observed to be more transmissible than the original.
Continued Threat of the Pandemic
The governor noted that the outbreak seen in the region is a testament to what areas with low vaccination rates are susceptible to amid the pandemic. He added the threat of the disease would only grow unless officials can increase the number of people in the area that get vaccinated, People reported.
The outbreak comes as Illinois reported a higher than the national average rate for vaccinations. Officials reported that as of Monday, the state had 59% of its residents at least partially vaccinated and 46% were fully vaccinated. The national average has about 54% of Americans at least partially vaccinated with 46% getting their full vaccinations, ABC News reported.
The Delta variant has been quickly spreading across the United States, much more in the last month. Federal health experts anticipate the new strain could soon become the dominant COVID-19 virus variant in the country in the coming weeks. During a White House briefing on June 22, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country's top infectious disease expert, characterized the Delta strain as "the greatest threat in the U.S."