Number of COVID cases stemming from church camp now up to 85

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RUSHVILLE – The Illinois Department of Public Health has updated its numbers and now says 85 teens and adult staff at The Crossing’s youth camp near Rushville have tested positive for COVID-19.

The camp was held earlier this month. One unvaccinated young adult was hospitalized.  Although all campers and staff were eligible for vaccination, IDPH is aware of only a handful of campers and staff who received it. The camp was not checking vaccination status and masking was not required while indoors.

“The majority of the 85 COVID-19 cases associated with the youth camp are among teens,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.  “The perceived risk to children may seem small, but even a mild case of COVID-19 can cause long-term health issues.  Additionally, 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.”

Two people who were at the camp also attended a nearby conference, which resulted in 11 additional cases. At least 70 percent of those cases were unvaccinated.  The vaccines currently authorized in the U.S. have been shown to be effective among individuals who are fully vaccinated, even against the more transmissible and serious variants.  Schuyler and Adams counties, where the outbreaks occurred, are seeing approximately 40 percent of their population fully vaccinated, according to IDPH.

IDPH continues to assist local health departments involved in the youth camp and conference outbreaks and is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Specimens are being sought for genomic sequencing to determine if any of the cases were caused by variants.

Information about where to get a COVID-19 vaccination can be found at https://www.vaccines.gov/.  CDC guidance adopted by IDPH for operating youth camps can be found at http://www.dph.illinois.gov/covid19/community-guidance/operating-youth-camps

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