A large “beach week” gathering in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, appears to be where at least 150 young people from Virginia’s Loudoun County contracted COVID-19.
In the last week, Loudoun County’s Department of Health has seen a significant increase in positive coronavirus tests among people between the ages of 10 and 19 and 20 and 29.
A county news release posted Monday said in just the last week, 150 people between 16 and 18 tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19, and more than half of the county’s positive cases in that time period came from those 29 years old or younger.
Dr. David Goodfriend, the county’s health director, said young people who call the Northern Virginia county home likely have been spending more time in large groups.
He said “many teens and young adults are increasingly participating in activities that involve larger gatherings of people, such as beach week and other celebrations, which has increased their exposure to others outside their families.”
WTOP’s news partner NBC Washington said Goodfriend is referencing a Loudoun County Beach Week event in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, that was responsible for about 100 of the positive cases.
Goodfriend said in talking with those infected and their doctors, the health department determined that hundreds of students had take the trip together.
Loudoun County’s seen a big uptick in young people contracting COVID-19. Over the last week, more than half of its 383 positive cases we’re younger than 30. The Loudoun Co. Health Department says a lot of young people recently got infected after a trip to Myrtle Beach. (@wusa9) pic.twitter.com/obEhGCvzSP
— John Henry (@JohnHenryWUSA) June 29, 2020
“And there still may be more out there,” he told NBC4.
The county’s message to its residents remains familiar: young people may feel “invincible,” Goodfriend said, but the risk is when they mix in the community at large, pick up the virus and bring it home, where they could expose more vulnerable, older relatives.
The county reminded its residents that large events, like those coming up during the Fourth of July holiday weekend or during summer beach trips, pose a greater risk for residents than staying home and mixing with smaller groups of people.
Goodfriend asked healthy teenagers and young people to stay vigilant and continue to do their best to prevent the spread of the virus in the community.
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