17 Teens Test Positive for Coronavirus After Trip to Myrtle Beach

Lizzy Buczak
June 30, 2020 - 1:41 pm

    After a group of teens from Ohio took a trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, more than a dozen returned home with coronavirus.

    TODAY reports that more than 91 high school seniors from Bellaire, Ohio went on the trip, which the superintendent of the school district, Darren Jenkins, called a “rite of passage.”

    He clarified that the district was not involved in organizing the trip for students.

    According to the publication, about half of the seniors were from Belmont County, Ohio, while the other half was from towns across the West Virginia border.

    "We knew they would travel as soon as they could. We just hoped they would be responsible with social distancing and wearing masks," Robert Sproul, deputy health commissioner of the Belmont County Health Department, told CNN.

    On Monday, after the weeklong beach excursion, there were 14 positive cases among students. By Tuesday cases rose to 17. The health department also notes there are two other confirmed cases of coronavirus among people who were exposed to students who tested positive.

    While that might not seem like a lot, Jenkins added the number is “dramatic” for them as there are only 1,300 students total from kindergarten through 12th grade.

    "We're a small community, so you can imagine what that is doing to the community as a whole," he explained. "There's a lot of anxiety going on."

    He added that the experience is a lesson for the students who thought they were immune to the highly contagious respiratory disease: "I think quite honestly ... we have a situation where young people feel as if they can't get COVID, only old folks get COVID. I think that there is now an awareness that COVID is an equal opportunity disease."

    Sproul said the county is conducting contract tracing. Meanwhile, all students and their families will also be tested. Students are also required to quarantine for 14 days.

    Since the amount of cases is expected to increase, Bellaire schools have suspended summer programs and camps, which include sports.

    Sproul’s advised those looking to vacation to “reconsider your destination.”

    "If you're going to a hotspot and not taking precautions you're asking for trouble ... it could happen in your town,” he told CNN.

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