A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that children of all ages are vulnerable to coronavirus and might play an important role in spreading it.
The agency’s latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report released Friday looks at a COVID-19 outbreak among about 600 staff and attendees of an overnight summer camp in Georgia that started in late June.
It says the camp, which is not named, followed recommendations for operation laid out in executive orders from Gov. Brian Kemp, including a requirement that everyone in attendance test negative for coronavirus before arriving.
Still, within a week of opening to campers, the camp was shut down because of suspected cases of COVID-19. Researchers say 260 campers and staff eventually tested positive for the virus.
“These findings demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2 spread efficiently in a youth-centric overnight setting … despite efforts by camp officials to implement most recommended strategies to prevent transmission,” the report reads.
While the camp did follow some of the CDC’s recommendations for safe operation, the report points out that one key measure was missing: universal masking. Staff were required to wear face masks, campers were not.
In a press release accompanying the report, the agency points to that as a potential key factor in why coronavirus was so able to quickly spread.
“Settings, like multi-day, overnight summer camps, pose a unique challenge when it comes to preventing the spread of infectious diseases, considering the amount of time campers and staff members spend in close proximity,” the agency said.
The report comes just hours before Kemp’s latest executive order outlining dozens of public health measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus is set to expire. It will lapse just before midnight Friday unless the governor renews it.
The order requires overnight camps to adhere to dozens of rules, which researchers say “were not sufficient to prevent an outbreak in the context of substantial community transmission.”
They also point out that their findings add to the body of evidence that “children of all ages are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection and, contrary to early reports might play an important role in transmission.”
Researchers found more than half of all children aged 6-10 who were administered a test for coronavirus received a positive result. For children aged 11-17, more than 40% tested positive.
Kemp Taps Grady For Triage Center
Gov. Brian Kemp has tapped Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta to run a statewide triage center for coronavirus patients, in an effort to help find hospital bed space for people severely ill with COVID-19.
The state has put $1.2 million into the Georgia Coordinating Center, a kind of “air-traffic control” center for COVID-19 patients that need hospital care.
The 24/7 center will help coordinate patient transfers between hospitals and help emergency management services find facilities with open beds to take critically ill patients.
A surge of coronavirus infections in the last month has strained hospitals across the state — some of which have very little space in their intensive care units.
Grady has been coordinating patient traffic in metro Atlanta since late 2019, when a flood knocked out 200 of the hospital’s beds.
SEC Reconfigurees Game Schedule
The powerhouse Southeastern Conference has reconfigured its schedule to include only in-conference football this fall.
The move is designed to circumvent any possible disruptions caused by the coronavirus.
The 10-game regular season doesn’t allow for any of the power conferences to cross paths. This means there won’t be a UGA vs. Georgia Tech college football game this fall.
Sept. 26 will kick off the first SEC match-up of the season, with the championship game set for Dec. 19.
Property Tax Deadline Approaching
The COVID-19 outbreak is not stopping the collection of property taxes. At least for now. Fulton County homeowners have until Monday to appeal their assessments.
Assessments show the estimated value of the homeowner’s property, and they determine what will show up on property tax bills later this year.
If people feel like their home’s value estimate is too high, they can dispute it. They just have to do that within 45 days of the date the county mailed the assessment.
This year, that deadline is this coming Monday. According to the tax assessor’s office, values for residential properties in Atlanta rose by 9 percent since last year.