Over 125 campers and adults at a Texas church camp have tested positive for COVID-19, with hundreds more potentially exposed.
At least six cases were among fully vaccinated people and three of the cases were also determined to be linked to the highly contagious Indian ‘Delta’ variant, health officials revealed.
The outbreak occurred at Clear Creek Community Church (CCCC), in League City, Texas, just southeast of Houston, which held a camp for sixth through 12th graders in late June.
There were over 400 attendees at the camp, which took place right outside of Galveston County, between campers and staff.
Organizers fear that all who attended may have been exposed to the virus, and that people who have been in close contact with children or adults. outside the camp are exposed as well.
Clear Creek Community Church (pictured) in League City, Texas, held a summer camp in late June, and over 125 attendees returned with a positive case of COVID-19. All of the 400 attendees are believed to have been exposed to the virus
‘Unfortunately, upon return from camp, 125+ campers and adults reported to us that they tested positive for COVID-19. Additionally, hundreds more were exposed to COVID-19 at camp,’ said Bruce Wesley, lead pastor of the camp, in a statement.
‘And hundreds of others were likely exposed when infected people returned home from camp.’
All church services at all five CCCC campuses have been postponed in the meanwhile.
‘From the beginning of the pandemic, we have sought to love our neighbors by practicing strict safety protocols.’ Wesley said in his letter to churchgoers.
‘We are surprised and saddened by this turn of events. Our hearts break for those infected with the virus,’
The Galveston County Health District was notified of the first positive cased linked to the camp on June 27, according to CNN.
On Tuesday, they announced that they had identified ‘breakthrough cases’ – where someone contracts the virus despite being fully vaccinated – and cases of the Delta variant.
‘The Delta variant is highly contagious, more so than other strains. And people who are unvaccinated are at most risk,’ said Dr Philip Keiser, of the Galveston County local health authority, in a statement.
‘I cannot stress enough – there is no reason to not get vaccinated if you’re old enough. There are plenty of vaccines available.
‘In this outbreak, at least as of now, it appears most of the people who have tested positive are old enough to be vaccinated.’
The seven-day rolling average of new cases in the county has doubled since late June, from 17 per day on June 26 to 34 per day on July 4.
County health officials say that the true total is likely higher because many self-reported positive COVID-19 tests that have not yet appeared in official data due to delays over the holiday weekend.
Across the state, the Delta variant is believed to account for ten to 20 percent of cases.
Three of the church’s locations are based in League City – which is in Galveston – and one is in Friendswood, Texas, also within the county limits.
COVID cases in Galveston County, where the church that held the camp is located, have doubled in recent weeks. Pictured: The CCCC summer camp
A fifth location is based in Houston, which is in neighboring Harris County.
The news comes as summer camps across America plan their return to operation after taking a year off in 2020 due to the pandemic.
Guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) allow for vaccinated children to ditch masks and social distancing at camps this summer.
Vaccines are currently available for children 12 years of age or older, meaning that almost all children at the CCCC camp would be eligible.
The children’s vaccine status is unknown at the time.
For unvaccinated children, the CDC still recommends wearing masks indoors and social distancing when it is possible at summer camps.
Half of the population of Galveston County have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 46 percent are fully vaccinated, per official county data.