CARY, N.C. (WNCN) – A child who attended a camp at the Northwest Cary YMCA in late June has tested positive for COVID-19.
In a statement, the YMCA of the Triangle said the camper attended Camp Outer Limits at the Northwest Cary YMCA between June 22 and 26.
The YMCA was informed of the positive test on Monday by the Durham Health Department.
“We immediately notified parents of children in camp at this location. In addition, staff initiated our deep cleaning protocols to disinfect the areas that day camp has been using,” the YMCA said.
The YMCA of the Triangle said it put several “enhanced health and safety measures” in place to help protect campers.
“These measures include deep cleaning protocols throughout the day and overnight,” the YMCA said.
Last week, CBS 17’s Judith Retana spoke with Shannon Steele with the Northwest Cary YMCA about changes made to help protect children.
Steele said cleanliness is more important than ever before. Bathrooms are cleaned every hour. Before entering the building, campers are screened and their temperatures are taken.
The YMCA supplied masks for their campers. No one other than camp participants — even parents — are allowed inside the building.
Dr. Tom Belhorn, clinical director for the division of infectious diseases at UNC-Chapel Hill, said Tuesday while there may be protective practices in place, they may not be enough.
“Many children and some adults can be asymptomatic with this and yet be able to spread the infection to other is of concern,” said Dr. Belhorn.
Dr. Belhorn said like adults, children may experience a wide spectrum of illness.
“We were all hoping at the begining of this epidemic that we really wouldn’t have very many children with the illness but we do have some that have significant infections,” said Dr. Belhorn. He explained he saw some cases where children and both parents were infected and hospitalized with the virus.
Even so, fatalities related to COVID-19 continue to be in adults over 65, counting for 80% of all deaths. Overall, 70% of all COVID-19 deaths were shown to be in people with at least one high-risk underlying health condition. There are no specific figures for COVID-19 deaths in children from the state, however half of patients ages 18 to 24 were found to have at least one high-risk underlying health condition.
Dr. Belhorn said he is seeing an increased number of children testing positive for COVID-19. According to numbers from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, about 5% of children testing positive for COVID-19 have at least one high-risk underlying health condition. In people over age 75, underlying health conditions were found in 52% of cases.
Underlying issues like obesity, diabetes, heart or lung issues can increase the severity of the infection in children and adults.
Dr. Belhorn said educating children about washing their hands and using hand sanitizer is crucial.
The YMCA said they were instilling hygiene-centered habits into children at their camps. Campers were encouraged to separate items used for activities into hoops designated for clean and ready to use or not yet. This helps staff ensure every item touched by campers or staff is sanitized.
“I think there are many places that are taking appropriate precautions that everyone just has to be wary of this infection but there’s no easy answer,” said Dr. Belhorn.
It is unclear when or where the camper became infected with COVID-19. The Durham County Health Department said “The Durham County Department of Public Health does not publicly disclose this information about suspected or confirmed individual COVID cases.”
Tuesday’s statement comes after campers were exposed to the virus at a day camp in Raleigh.
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