Christian summer camp turns into 17-state Covid superspreader

A Christian summer camp in rural North Carolina became a coronavirus superspreader.

Families spent around $350 to send their children to the "funtastic" camp in the Blue Ridge Mountains, where they could hike, swim, zipline and be served a "healthy portion of God's word" -- but public officials have traced at least 76 COVID-19 cases nationwide back to The Wilds, reported The Daily Beast.

"There's certainly a possibility that more cases could be identified," said Tara Rybka, public health spokeswoman for Transylvania County, where the camp is located.

The cases were traced to 17 states, including 47 staff members and 29 campers or chaperones who weren't working on site,

"I was surprised that there was an outbreak among counselors," said one mom, Brooke Taylor Jensen "I guess I assumed most had been vaccinated, as I wouldn't have considered sending my son if he hadn't been and from the sounds of it that wasn't the case."

Jensen's 15-year-old son had spent three summers at The Wilds, but he won't be going back this year after receiving an email about the positive tests in previous weeks.

"He loves it and was very disappointed but we were not willing to risk it," she said.

The camp canceled its July 19-24 session after the positive tests but resumed after the one-week pause, promising to take extra precautions to limit the potential spread of the virus, but camp brochures and registration forms on The Wilds' website don't mention COVID-19 protocols or face masks.

"While we have had some campers and staff either test positive or exhibit symptoms at different points this summer," the camp said in a statement, "we plan to continue to safely serve your camper through the remainder of the summer as the Lord allows."