Delta variant confirmed in samples from Texas church camp outbreak


GALVESTON, Texas (NewsNation Now) — The Galveston County Health District in Texas confirmed the Delta variant has been identified in three test samples tied to a COVID-19 outbreak at a church camp. Additional samples are being tested.

To date, 57 Galveston County youth and adults have been confirmed as testing positive for COVID-19. More than 450 adults and youth in grades 6-12 from the area attended the camp late last month outside of Galveston County. The health district was notified of the first positive COVID-19 case tied to the camp on June 27.

Of the 57 cases reported to date, six are breakthrough cases — meaning cases that are defined as someone becoming infected more than 14 days after their second COVID-19 vaccination. Forty-seven cases are in youth and adults 12 years and older while 10 are in youth younger than 12 years.

“The Delta variant is highly contagious, more so than other strains. And people who are unvaccinated are at most risk,” said Dr. Philip Keiser, Galveston County local health authority. “I cannot stress enough – there is no reason to not get vaccinated if you’re old enough. There are plenty of vaccines available,” Keiser added. 

“In this outbreak, at least as of now, it appears most of the people who have tested positive are old enough to be vaccinated. These vaccines are safe, effective and they offer the best protection against COVID-19 to you, your family and your community.”

The health district continues to work with church leadership to investigate the outbreak, trace potential contacts and offer guidance and resources. The youth group did not leave the campground during their stay. They did have contact with counselors from their church. No other campers were on site.

In addition to these 57 confirmed cases, more than 90 people – including non-Galveston County residents – have self-reported to the health district that they have tested positive. There may be a delay in labs reporting cases to the health district due to the holiday weekend. For those who do not live in Galveston County, their case would be reported to their county of residence.

Anyone who attended the church camp who begins to feel sick or is a close contact with someone who is COVID-19 positive should get tested and quarantine at home while waiting for test results. Those who are not vaccinated, including children younger than 12 years old, should continue to wear a face mask and social distance in public settings.

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