Editor’s note: A photo previously attached to this story was from a beach in California. Though the caption noted this, we switched the photo to better represent the story and apologize for any confusion this caused.
BELLAIRE, Ohio (WTRF) – A group of teenagers and young adults from Belmont County, Ohio brought COVID-19 back with them after a trip to Myrtle Beach.
“We are told that 91 people went to Myrtle Beach,” said Rob Sproul, Belmont County deputy health commissioner. “Of those, 45 are Belmont County residents and 14 have already tested positive for COVID-19.”
Sproul said most of the 14 have symptoms.
“We may see many more as testing continues.”
He said people are getting a false sense of security when they see the numbers go down, but they only go down because of the precautions – masks, distancing, hand washing and the use of sanitizer.
Sproul said the minute those precautions are discarded, the numbers go up again. The 14 who tested positive could be just the tip of the iceberg.
They’re now tracing and testing parents, siblings, friends and teammates.
“We’re trying to catch these people before they spread it further,” Sproul said. “But we could be looking at larger numbers than we want.”
“It’s a rite of passage but this year, the kids came home with more than sand in their shorts — they got COVID 19,” said Bellaire Schools Superintendent Darren Jenkins.
He said it was a diverse group.
“There were graduating seniors from our district, and Shadyside and other places,” he said. “There were underclassmen and there were those who had graduated several years ago.”
Bellaire has suspended all extracurricular activities for the time being and closed the buildings to everyone.
Jenkins said the schools will be deep-cleaned and sanitized, and activities will only be resumed when everyone is out of quarantine.