A Maskless Church Camp And Conference Are Linked To 180 COVID-19 Cases

An organization held a five-day church camp for teens and a two-day men’s conference in June that have since been linked to a spike in cases following research by the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a report Monday. The CDC did not name the organization.

A majority of those cases, 122, were attributed to attendees, with 87 people contracting COVID-19 during the camp and 35 during the conference. Most of those cases, 104, were unvaccinated people.

Only five people were hospitalized, none of whom had been vaccinated, and no deaths were reported. But officials say that more than 1,000 people across at least four states could have been exposed through the two events, the CDC said.


In it’s report, the CDC said:

The camp was held during June 13–17, 2021, and included persons aged 14–18 years from a church organization with multiple locations across western Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri. A total of 294 campers arrived on buses or large passenger vans and were met by 41 staff members. No proof of COVID-19 vaccination or SARS-CoV-2 pretesting or testing on arrival was required, and the list of suggested items to bring to camp did not include masks. Campers were housed in large, shared boarding facilities of approximately 100 campers each, dined in a cafeteria together, participated in indoor and outdoor small group activities in which campers were with the same persons during program events, and participated in activities with all campers during all 5 days.

Overall, 1,127 persons from at least four states and 18 counties were exposed to SARS-CoV-2 through attendance at the camp or conference or through close contact with a person who had a camp- or conference-associated case. In the 7 days before the camp (June 6–12), Adams County, Illinois,†† reported 31 COVID-19 cases, with an average of 4.4 cases per day. In the 7 days after the last identified secondary case (July 16–22), the county reported 232 cases, with an average of 33.1 per day, a 648% increase from the number reported during the week before the camp (2).


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