Published by Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), Early Release / Vol. 70; October 1, 2021
According to sequencing data reported by CDC, the highly transmissible B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, has been the predominant lin- eage circulating in Louisiana since the week of June 20, 2021 (1). In Louisiana, the increased spread of the Delta variant corresponded with the start of the state’s fourth and largest increase in average daily COVID-19 incidence to date (1,2). This report describes COVID-19 outbreaks in Louisiana youth summer camps as the Delta variant became the predominant lineage during June–July 2021. This activity was reviewed by the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) and was con- ducted consistent with applicable state law and LDH policy.* During June–July 2021, LDH used camp reports and contact tracing data† to identify 28 camp outbreaks§ state- wide, which included a total of 321 COVID-19 cases¶ among an estimated 2,988 campers and staff members. Fourteen (50.0%) of the camps were day camps, and 14 (50.0%) were overnight camps. The mean outbreak size was 11.5 cases (range = 2–59 cases); the mean outbreak size of day camps was 9.3 cases (range = 2–21 cases) and overnight camps was 13.6 cases (range = 2–59 cases). Compared with June–July 2020, when two outbreaks (each with five con- firmed camp-associated cases) were identified statewide, this represented a thirty-one-fold increase in confirmed camp- associated cases.
The increased number of outbreaks and cases observed in Louisiana youth summer camps in 2021 compared with the previous year coincided with the widespread circulation of the highly transmissible Delta variant. This period also coincided with apparent underutilization of preventive measures such as vaccination, masking, and physical distancing. Multicomponent prevention measures, including vaccination of all eligible adults and adolescents, wearing masks indoors, regular screening test- ing, physical distancing and cohorting, and increasing ventilation can help prevent transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in settings with youths who cannot be vaccinated (3,4).
This publication was authored by Julius L. Tonzel and Theresa Sokol from the Louisiana Department of Health, Office of Public Health, Infectious Disease Epidemiology Section. Julius Tonzel is also a PhD student in Epidemiology at the LSU School of Public Health.