by Joe Sutton and Eric Levenson | CNN
A co-ed sleepaway camp in New York said 31 campers between the ages of 7 and 11 have tested positive for COVID-19 — but none of their 12-and-up campers received the vaccination.
Camp Pontiac, located in Kopeck, NY, about a two-hour drive from New York City, said in a letter to parents that the first positive test result was received on July 16. Then the virus spread further.
“The initial outbreak was on the girls side, but the latest new cases are on the boys side,” Columbia County Health Director Jack Maub said in an email to CNN on Thursday. “The majority of cases came as a result of testing done with symptomatic campers this past weekend.”
He said that of all the positive cases, some have been sent home from the camp with 88 contacts. Those who were not sent home “live too far to go home easily,” he said.
Camp Pontiac has 550 campers on its campus; According to Maab, about half are between 7 and 11 years old, and half are between 12 and 17.
He said none of the campers aged 12 or above have tested positive for Covid-19, as four of them have been vaccinated. He said that there are 275 workers in the camp and less than 10 have not been vaccinated.
On the recommendation of the state health department, Camp Pontiac is testing all unvaccinated campers at least twice this week.
The outbreak illustrates the ongoing spread of COVID-19, even as it highlights the importance of vaccinations, which studies have shown are safe and provide protection against the disease and its most serious risks. .
Dr. Rochelle Valensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Thursday, “Fully immunization gives you a high level of protection against infection, and even more protection from serious illness, hospitalization.” “These vaccines are some of the most effective we have in modern medicine.”
The CDC has said that staff and campers who have been fully vaccinated are not required to wear masks at camp. Children under 12 are not eligible to be vaccinated because vaccine companies are still testing the effectiveness and safety of shots for younger age groups. The timeline for their approval is unclear.