36 students who attended the same athletics camp in Chicago test positive for COVID-19
As the country struggles to contain the coronavirus pandemic, disturbing stories of mass infections stemming from summer camps continue to make headlines, leading many to wonder if reports of widespread coronavirus infection are going to become the norm when schools reopen. 36 students have tested positive at Lake Zurich High School, all of whom participated in the school’s athletic camps last week.
ABC News Chicago reports that the athletic camp students in Lake Zurich, Illinois who tested positive may have actually contracted the virus at social events before the camps even started. The students who tested positive are now isolating and all athletic camps at the school have been suspended until further notice. Additionally, the number of infected students is expected to rise as local health officials are still waiting on test results from the weekend, where an additional 350 students at Lake Zurich High School were tested as well.
“Other students began experiencing symptoms during the day and were sent home,” the county health department said in a statement. “The school district was notified that evening that multiple students who attended camps across multiple sports later developed symptoms and received positive test results for COVID-19 later that afternoon.”
At least 36 students at Lake Zurich High School have tested positive for COVID-19 — and health officials say they have traced the infections to 3 summer athletic camps and “recent social gatherings.” https://t.co/G3oSNfwsIm
— Chicago Tribune (@chicagotribune) July 15, 2020
The Lake County Health Department officials continued to emphasize that the students were very likely infected before attending the camp and that they’ve heard “a lot of young people report that they had social gatherings. They’ve been hanging out with their friends. They’ve been going to slumber parties.”
In Illinois, 20-29 year-olds are leading the statistics for positive COVID cases, though that demographic does not account for many of the deaths in the state. In Lake County specifically, health officials say that COVID infections in patients under 30 are rising in recent rounds of testing, and health officials worry about all the young people with the virus who are not taking the pandemic seriously enough.
“A lot of young people might think that they’re not at risk because they’re not in that higher risk group for severe illness for COVID-19, but the truth is younger people are just as likely as older adults to get infected with COVID-19 and to be able to spread it to others,” Hannah Goering, Lake County Health Department, told ABC 7 Chicago earlier this week.
Sadly, this isn’t the only story like it. Last week, a Christian summer camp in Missouri closed after 82 staffers and campers tested positive for the virus. Back in June, two YMCA summer camps in Georgia opened and then closed right away after a counselor tested positive for COVID and a Colorado camp had an outbreak among the staff members while prepping for summer campers, effectively canceling their opening. In Pennsylvania earlier this month, one camp decided they were postponing their opening day after a group of staff members tested positive during orientation.
The desire to maintain some semblance of normalcy for kids, like sending them to camp, is understandable, but trying to operate “business as usual” during a global pandemic is playing with fire.